How do we usually imagine Ukrainian cuisine? A countryside, “babushka” with a plate of “varenyky”, men in “sharovary”, lots of alcohol and unhealthy food with a lot of fat. That is how usually both Ukrainians and tourists think about Ukrainian food. Is it true, or just a stereotype? Let`s explore together.
Ukraine. Kyiv. Andriivskiy descent. At this place used to live lots of famous people: artists, writers and politicians. Explaining in one word, here was all the elite of Kyiv. Do you really think that these women in long beautiful dresses with lace on the sleeves and corseted waists cooked borscht with pork or used to drink vodka together with their husbands? Oh, of course not! First of all, these women used to read books, learn French, but not working all the day on the field or in the kitchen. But these families used to have a housekeeper, whose obligation was to cook, to make cleaning and all these things. The food of “city`s Ukrainians” was really different from the “village`s Ukrainians”. Kyiv citizens adapted traditional Ukrainian recipes up to them. Ukrainian cuisine also has its own development, but we usually eat only traditional old recipes. Anyway, one of Kyiv restaurants decided to play against the rules. “Kanapa” restaurant offers to the guests traditional dishes in a modern way, and here you can find a mix of old traditions and new trends in the food world.
A place with a story
If we want to understand the main concept of the restaurant we need to go back to the history of Kyiv several centuries ago. Before the Revolution, in Kyiv used to live nobles – about these people I wrote in the previous paragraph. Yes, people in Ukraine not all the time were Soviet citizens 🙂 Before the Soviet Union came to Ukraine, here we could find people who used to be a part of Emperors families or used to be closed to them. Most of such people lived at Podil district, and Andriivskiy descent was full of nobles` mansions. And one of this mansions now we can see as a restaurant.
At the beginning of the 20th century, this building was owned by noble Marina Chigrintseva. The mansion consisted of the living house of two floors and one-floor outbuildings. The living house is a good example of 19th-century architecture: the house got two floors, made with wood and decorated with wood, with brick basement. The main facade with high wooden porch and a balcony. Everything is decorated with carving elements.
The owners of Kanapa restaurant tried to save the interior of that times. Even more, the tree, that was growing in the courtyard, stay at the same place. The terrace for the restaurant was built around the tree!
So, the interior is decorated according to the traditions and style of the houses of Kyiv bourgeois of the beginning of 20th century. In the rooms, you can find the chests of drawers decorated with wooden carving, wooden chairs, old paintings of the Ukrainian artists, chandeliers with shade in the Provance style. Also, there is a hall with a real fireplace, place for music performances.
Modern Ukrainian cuisine
I would say that “Kanapa” is a place, where all the Ukrainian production is collected and served in a modern and trendy way. Recipes were collected from all the territory of Ukraine, by the way, a little paradox: recipes that are daily at Western Ukraine may be absolutely unknown to Kyiv citizens.
The main concept of the restaurant is to use only Ukrainian local products. The chef and his team from time to time are travelling around Ukraine to find new suppliers for the restaurant.
They have already found the suppliers of such unusual for Ukraine products as Ukrainian oysters, foie gras, kiwi, caviar, pike, eel. The sommelier collection of Ukrainian wines surprised me: I had never known that Ukraine has such a developed winemaking industry.
In “Kanapa” the menu is divided into two parts: the first one is dedicated to the classic Ukrainian cuisine, another part – is a modern interpretation of traditional recipes with elements of molecular technique. The best way to discover flavours of modern Ukrainian cuisine is to take a degustation set that includes 12 dishes:
- Carps in sour cream (Carp mousse and oyster cream with fried dill and pike caviar on a crispy fish skin)
- Ukrainian oysters (3 Oysters with creamy horseradish snow, sorrel ice and guelder rose sauce)
- Black sea rachky (Black Sea chopped small shrimps with buckwheat chip and sturgeon caviar)
- Root plants with pastille (Beetroot with blackcurrants, carrot with sea buckthorn, parsnip with apple and goat cheese meringue)
- Jerusalem artichoke (Artichoke stuffed with sun-dried and fresh tomatoes with smoked sour cream)
- Warm cheese with chokeberries and apple (Bessarabian fried cheese halloumi with chokeberry sauce and apple with cardamom aroma)
- Pea pate (pea pate with fermented cabbage on a toast with flax and camelina seeds, and rape plant)
- Black sea mussels with amaranth, jelly of sour apples and celery puree and bisque with rachky and mussels
- Berry sorbet
- Chicken Kiev (Naked Chicken Kyiv with false fake egg)
- Conifer cone Molozyvo with Ryazhenka (Cow colostrum with poppy seed sponge cake and ryazhenka)
The total cost for a degustation set is 698UAH (23 Euro), if you take a set with alcohol drinks (set of Ukrainian wines), such a set will cost you 989 UAH (33 Euro).
Another thing that may interest you is cheese collection. During the evening, you may meet here a formagier (cheese specialist), who will offer you to taste different kinds of cheese and choose which would you like to savour for the dinner. The collection includes about 30-40 kinds of different cheeses, produced by 15 farms-suppliers.
To be honest, it is very difficult for me to choose some dishes from the menu to recommend. I don`t eat meat at all, so the role of “degustator and recommendator” belongs to my friend Inna. So, her choices:
The one thing that will probably amaze you: have you ever ate candles? 🙂
Yes, this candle can be eaten: it is made with butter and garlic. It is one of the most “Instagrammed” dishes of the restaurant. 99% of the guests are shocked when they see how their friends (who have already visited “Kanapa” restaurant) start to eat the candle without any explanation.
The next one most wondering dishes is a traditional borshch served in a cabbage:
Talking about drinks, of course, I recommend trying Ukrainian wines, Ukrainian calvados and tea with herbs by the own recipes.
Also, I would recommend you taking some desserts. The most surprising for me was a cake with chestnuts. In the menu, you will find “Salo in Chocolate” (oh, I have never tried it, honestly), “Kyiv” chocolate cake, varenyky with seasonal berries, macaroons, mousses.
Not food only. “Kanapa” from time to time organises “salon evenings”: evenings to listen to the live music, different exhibitions. For several times there were organised excursions around the Podil district.
Tips & Conclusions
If you don`t imagine your meal without meat: probably visit it. It is a paradise for the meat lovers.
If you are vegetarian: You will find in the menu some positions without meat, but you should ask your waiter for an advice. If you are vegan – this place is not for you, raw food will not be found.
Describe the place in one word: Serenity
Average price: one meal will cost you about 120 UAH (4 Euro).
Do you need to reserve a table: Recommended. During weekdays the hostess will find a free table for you at “Kanapa” restaurant, but for a weekend or some holidays, it is always full.
Adress: Andriivskiy descent, 19
Working hours: daily from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
To reserve a table: (044) 425 45 48, (068) 044 30 50