Weekday at the Heart of Moscow – down Tverskaya street
Georgian food and Russian anti-café
After a couple of wet and relatively cold weeks, warm weather seems to be finally back to Moscow and Tverskaya street. As a consequence, both local and visiting populations rush outside and seek to spend as much time as possible in the parks and streets of the capital. In this context, I met yesterday a Russian friend who wanted to show me some popular and interesting, still calm and affordable, places where Muscovites enjoy going on a weekday.
We met for dinner at Hachapuri, a Georgian-cuisine restaurant, to be found on 10 Bolshoi Gnezdnikovskiy Lane, 5 minutes away from the junction of Tverskaya Street and Tverskoy Boulevard [metro stations Tverskaya or Pushkinskaya]. Although this place is part of a chain of restaurants, the atmosphere was very pleasant and the food was delicious. Besides the variety of hachapuri – a Georgian-style bread which may have on it cheese, meat, vegetables or herbs, – they offer the typical khinkali dumplings and, of course, a large variety of roasted meat. For a full list of all that is offered, check their website at http://www.hacha.ru/ru/.
What I particularly enjoyed about the food in Hachapuri was its simplicity and its natural taste. It reminded me of the good Italian cuisine, in which the accent is on the products and not on what people add to them in the process of cooking. I also advise you to order some Georgian red wine!
Besides the quality of food, at Hachapuri I appreciated the live piano music and the austerity of the space, in which furniture is kept to the strict minimum required.
Anti – Cafe concept
After Hachapuri, we went back on Tverskaya street, crossed to the other side of the street and walked South, in the direction of the Kremlin. In about 100 m., on Tverskaya 12, you will see at the entrance of a residence building a small inscription on which one can read the following: ЦИФЕРБЛАТ. This is the name of one of the many anti-cafés in Moscow. The concept is a very Russian one: an anti-café is a public space where people can go by themselves or meet with friends and there is no obligation to consume anything. People pay a fee, usually very little, depending on how long they stay in the anti-café and not on what they eat, drink or do. There is plenty of food and hot drinks around and the visitors are invited to serve themselves, as they please. The anti-café is a space where often people read, play cards or board games, or simply work on their PC. Sometimes, anti-cafés become places where artists perform music or theatre pieces.
In ЦИФЕРБЛАТ, one can easily feel the spirit and the idea behind the concept of anti-cafés. Set in an ex-residence flat, the space is furnished simply, almost in a Nordic fashion, and everywhere is to be felt the atmosphere of nonchalance. The indisputable beauty of this place consists in the fact that you cannot see any business or capitalistic elements, which are very present in traditional cafés.
Garbis, currently learning Russian at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg