Address: 1st Neopalimovsky per., 6
Tel: +7 (499) 248-5102
The Golden Road to Samarkand...
By Neil McGowan
Last week I was discussing mid-price restaurants with the editor of The Expat Site - who said that it was hard to find many that were really reliable. So off I went to Sindbad, where I had to eat my words, and a very dodgy Caesar Salad (180 rbls). Actually as a chicken mayo salad, served on chopped lettuce and sprinkled with grated Sovietsky cheese it is a quite decent appetiser - it just isn't Caesar Salad. Luckily our other starter, Piratsky Salad, (120 rbls) was delicious - a super-fresh mix of green veg and tomatoes in a chilli dressing that kicks butt.
The whole summer menu is geared towards the outdoor setting. Sindbad's oriental garden is set within a high wall - authentically like an Uzbek caravanserai courtyard, and has semi-open dining snuggeries for privacy in smaller groups, as well as tables fully in the open. The star attraction is food hot off the charcoal grill, and with this Central Asian cuisine, decor, and (ehem) authentically diffident service, it's easy to feel transported to downtown Bukhara for a few hours. Especially as the area's crawling with cops, due to MID being around the corner...
I stuck with house specials and took Salmon off the grill as my main course - a bargain at 150 rbls, although the portion size isn't huge. Sveta was unlucky twice running, and after a dud Caesar salad, got Chicken Wings (150 rbls) as a main that managed to be greasy outside whilst dry inside, and no hint of spice or sauce with them either. The side-order of Persian KooKoo was disappointing - instead of the fluffy egg pudding came a greasy omelette.
Sveta was so miffed at this point, having nibbled at the wings and discarded them, that we ordered a portion of Tiger Prawns off the mangal, and these were tip-top at 450 rbls. Coinciding with the garden lighting and water-run coming on, the evening took an upward turn from here.
For dessert we got Grilled Banana (120 rbls) and Grilled Pineapple (150 rbls) with liquer, which they brought nicely presented on a large dish, and these were undoubtedly the highlights of the evening - crisp outside, succulent inside, without added unwanted sugar to spoil the natural taste.
With liberal draught Baltika beer, some wine, a cocktail and great espresso we paid 1900 rbls for two. Without the emergency prawn reinforcements and the kookoo, we could have dined for 1300 rbls. For outdoor summer eating it's a super location - their garden is a real treat compared to many Moscow al-fresco operations. Stick to the Uzbek house specials and the grilled options, avoid the half-arsed pseudo-Russian/Euro choices and it's mid-price outdoor dining you'd go back to again.