Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Starry, Stary Arbat

Arbat is a place in Moscow. There's Stary Arbat which means Old Arbat, and there's Novy Arbat, which is New Arbat. On Mother's Day, we had lunch in Old Arbat, mostly cos we have a guest in town and we wanted to take her to the most touristy street in Moscow.

Unfortunately, my Canon DSLR has died on me so these pictures are from my trusty old Canon ixus. The building you see here is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and one of the so-called Stalin's Seven Sisters. These 7 wedding-cake style buildings with a spire at the top are located in key areas all over Moscow.

Old Arbat starts on the street next to the MFA and we had parked on the opposite side of the Garden Ring Road, this wide boulevard you see here. There are more than 10 lanes on this section of Garden Ring, but at it's widest, there are 18 lanes. Unfortunately, such wide roads don't prevent (I'm thinking maybe they even contribute to) massive jams so typical in Moscow daily life.

To cross these roads, you go through underpasses like this.

First food joint you see when you enter Stary Arbat is perennial kids' favourite McDonald's.

Lunch was at Vostochny Kvartal, an Uzbekistan restaurant off the main street, just behind restaurant-chain Mu Mu (or Moo Moo). Actually, this is the only restaurant I've patronised in Old Arbat.

Our guest Lena is pretty adventurous so she'd order stuff we would never think of having, such as a greenish lemonade which tasted nasty, like medicine, and a pear-flavoured lemonade which was actually quite nice, like Fanta green.

Some of the dishes we ordered.

Bagel-like bread with sesame seed.

Eggplant with lamb and red pepper, I think.

Lena ordered this yoghurty soup. See how adventurous she is, and the brave woman is taking the train to St Petersburg all by herself later tonight for a 4-day visit.

Lagman, lamb soup with noodles, very good. Even better on a cold wintry day.

Fried chicken...

and lamb (I don't know how they cooked it)...really delicious.

Outside the restaurant is a statue of Soviet poet-singer Bulat Okudzhava, who had written songs about Arbat.

Does this busker have the smallest accordian you've ever seen or what?

Check out this guys' er, double-barrelled guitar? He also attaches bells on his right foot which he taps in rhythm to his guitar-playing.

We walked down the length of Stary Arbat to reach the National Souvenir shop for Lena to buy some Matryoshka Dolls.

It was a really hot spring day, so we settled down at yet another American joint for coffee and muffins.

Is there anyone who can't make out the words? C'mon, easy peasy...the logo is at the bottom of the picture; this outlet was the first one opened in Moscow, by the way.


monlim said...

The architecture is so ornate but beautiful in its unique way. And the food! As usual, your pics are great lah. I wouldn't have tried the yoghurt soup though. And they eat a lot of lamb in Moscow? Or just you guys? Looks good!

Stef said...

Starbucks - I recognised the font! Heeheehee!

Lilian said...

Stef: You have a keen eye for detail eh? Crever girl :)

Mon: Before coming to Moscow, we hardly ate lamb. Over here, the tastier restaurants are the Central Asian ones like Uzbek food, Georgian food...and lamb features quite a bit in their menu. I think it also keeps people warm during long winter months.

breve1970 said...

Yum... I love lamb! Great pictures!

I like the architecture too. Its a great country with a rich and varied heritage despite the harsh winters.

Alcovelet said...

Your food pics are to die for man! I just went back to your food blog to get the choc cake recipe yesterday and almost went to heaven, looking at all that gorgeous food!

That MFA building looks like what celluloid nightmares are made of, like being dragged off to the KGB for questioning ... Oops. Been reading too many spy thrillers!