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Restaurant Reviews
Planning to dine out? Visit the Expat Site Restaurant Guide
for a listing of restaurants and menus in English and Russian.

Every two weeks the Moscow Expat Site presents yet another Moscow eatery for your consideration.
If you'd like to suggest a restaurant for review - or even review a restaurant yourself - click here and we'll consider your suggestion.
 Simple Pleasures  

Cuisine: European
Address: Sretenka ul., 22/1
Metro: Sukharevskaya
Tel: +7 (495) 607-1521
Web: www.simplepleasure.su
Open from 12:00 until 06:00.
All major credit cards are accepted.

By Len Readle

Close your eyes, imagine walking into a Restaurant that still has work going on at the main entrance, an awful start you may think, well that is what I thought it would be when I was invited to a new place on Sretenka, here we go again says I, battle my way through a building site, fight off sleepy workers who don't seem to know what day it is, well to my pleasurable surprise, it wasn't what I dreaded.

We were met at the door by smiling staff, yes they smiled, they spoke English, and they were pleasant to us, even helpful, unbelievable huh?

The phrase "Simple Pleasures" may have a multitude of meanings to different people, to me it has always meant "no stress, no hassle and enjoyable", well, after myself and Polly went to Jerry Ruditser's new restaurant on Sretenka Street, "Simple Pleasures" took on a new meaning for me.

A little background first should help, Jerry is the founder and owner of the first Western Style coffee shops in Moscow which appeared in the middle 90's, "The Coffee Bean" is well known by most people in Moscow and provides a great way of grabbing a coffee and relaxing with your pals or to meet informally with a client. Jerry has brought chef Tony Baran to Moscow, this guy is not only a great chef, but has a presence that is both comfortable and likeable immediately, much to my disgust he chatted to Polly in fluent Spanish and seems to be picking up the Rusky lingo as well, makes me sick these people who are talented. .

There seemed to be a gap for a quality and reasonably priced Restaurant that provides food with a different twist, Tony the Head chef at "Simple Pleasures" calls it his "West Coast American Twist". To be honest I really didn't have any pre-conceptions, apart from the chance to rip this place apart with my arrogant style and loud mouthed behavior, I thought I could really give it a bad write up, it started from the moment we walked in downstairs, there was still work being carried out downstairs, this meant the place would be like a building site right? The entrance was a bit messy so I looked forward to viewing a mass of remonted and unfinished works.

Well I hate to admit it but I was wrong again, once climbing the stairs into the main area on the first floor, the simple and clean decor, the huge ceiling to floor windows that looked onto the then traffic jammed Sretenka, had an instant relaxing charm, there is a back room that has great potential, an open fire place and again large windows, ideal for a company function.

We were shown to a table by the window which gave me the opportunity to look down at the mass of traffic on this busy street. A little note on that, in all seriousness, if you have to drive on Sretinka, it is worth stopping for an hour or so for a coffee or bite to eat, the traffic cleared up after about an hour or so.

The meal, sounds like a start of an epic film huh? Well it was, a bottle of water was brought as well as some delicious bread and roasted Garlic, you can have traditional or almost a tappas style starter of various small dishes of hot and cold platters, we had Grilled Egg Plant with North African Hummus (180Rb), Whole Baby Fried Chicken (288Rb) usually more than enough for 2 but Polly ate half of it, which, of course didn't make me very happy, Spicy Korean Style Shrimp (180Rb), Grilled Lamb Sausage (210Rb) with a little Tony the chef Spice, Sesame Seared Tuna with amazingly prepared cucumber and peppers (380Rb) and Italian Salami served with roasted apples (210Rb). Well after that little lot I was feeling ready for my desert; I thought it was the starter and main course, Readle wrong again.

Main course, Grilled Pork Chop on a bed of delicious mashed potatoes (448Rb), Smoked Tenderloin Beef with spinach and mashed potatoes (864 Rb), and Cured MR Muscovy Duck (288Rb). I forgot to mention, the house wine is delicious, served in half liter carafe and priced at only 200Rb, normally reasonably priced Restaurants charge a fortune for even mediocre wine, this was light and very tasty, and the price, well getting tipsy here isn't difficult.

For desert, we had a Caramelized Apple with ice cream dish and a Sponge Cake covered with delicious chocolate. Both dishes had wild berries and strawberries which complimented the whole meal.

OK, that is the official stuff out of the way, some people like to see what was eaten and how much, me, well it was really an experience that I am happy I tried, it wasn't just the food, thanks Jerry you have a very special talent that is lacking in many a Restaurant in Moscow, it wasn't just the decor or the smiling friendly and efficient staff, it was the whole ambiance that created a dining experience that was simply pleasurable, no pun intended.

So to summarize, the works going on gave it an unfinished ambiance, the back room upstairs wasn't ready but has great potential, the overall impression was in my mind very good bordering on excellent, the food and presentation was an experience that many restaurant owners in town could do well to view and emulate.

24.12.03

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