Food Of The Week: Eastern Europe

This is just the time of year to enjoy the cosy flavours of Eastern Europe's hearty, meaty fare, says Andy Lynes
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Indy Lifestyle Online

While we Brits have greedily welcomed French, Italian and Spanish cuisine we have been less enthusiastic about exploring the food from a little further east on the map. This is a pity, as there is much to be enjoyed about the hearty soups, stews and braised dishes that form the basis of the cuisine of our Eastern European neighbours.

A fairy-tale log cabin festooned with stuffed animals and wooden spoons, Burebista, Calea Mosilor 195, Bucharest, Romania (00 40 21 201 9704; restaurantburebista.ro) is somewhere you would not go to for the interior design, but for gutsy dishes such as veal ragout and grilled carp.

If you go down to JB, Miklosiceva 17, 1000 Ljubljana (00 386 1 433 13 58; jb-slo.com) today, you're in for a big surprise (and one that is rather disturbing for anyone concerned about conservation). The menu at one of Slovenia's most highly rated restaurants includes bear, braised in sauce Chassuer with prunes, red pepper and bread dumpling.

Despite its disturbing moniker, there is nothing deadly about Fatal, Vaci utca 67, Budapest 1052 (00 36 1 266 2607). The restaurant is named after the wooden plates that the traditional dishes such as stuffed cabbage are served on.

Tucked away up an alley by the city walls, Ekvinocijo Konoba, Ilije Sarake 10, Dubrovnik (00 385 20 323 633; ekvinocijo.tripod.com) is worth seeking out for its renditions of traditional Croatian food. The Ekvinocijo platter features four types of fish, grilled and served with cabbage and potatoes.

The contemporary paintings of the Czech artist Michal Halva provide a colourful counterpoint to the antique furniture at Restaurant David, 21/611 Mala strana, Prague, Czech Republic (00 420 257 533 109; restaurant-david.cz). The menu is a similar mix of old and new with venison goulash and dumplings sitting alongside yellow-fin tuna steak tartare with Keta caviar and sesame seeds.

They have been serving pierogi, a sort of Polish version of Cornish pasties, since 1876 at U Hopfera, Krakowskie Przedmiescie 53, Warsaw (00 48 22 828 7352; pierogiswiata.civ.pl), which has given them time to come up with more than 50 varieties, including a chocolate one.

Taking its cue from the travels of the early 20th-century Russian singer, poet and performer Alexander Vertinsky, the menu at Vertinsky, 3 Ostozhenka, Moscow (00 7 495 202 05 70; vertinsky.com), wanders around the globe and serves both shark fin soup and beef stroganoff.

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