Moscow dreams come to life at Hà Nội restaurant

January 21, 2018 - 09:00

Việt Nam’s once large Russian presence is reflected in the Little Dream Moscow Restaurant in Hà Nội. It serves dishes with true Russian flavour.

Hot or cold: Red beet soup, a traditional dish of Russia, is a must at Little Dream in Hà Nội. Photos by Hồ Ngọc
Viet Nam News
By Hà Nguyễn
Việt Nam’s once large Russian presence is reflected in the Little Dream Moscow Restaurant in Hà Nội. It serves dishes with true Russian flavour.
On a recent Sunday,  I was invited to the restaurant located in quiet Nguyễn Gia Thiều Street.
When we arrived, we immediately recognised the restaurant because of its Russian characteristics. My friend, Nguyễn Xuân Tám, 70, who had worked in Russia for many years, said he and his friends met there every year.
A waiter in Russian traditional dress welcomed us and led us to our table near a window on the third floor. We could enjoy  the beauty of  green trees in villas opposite.
While waiting for our dishes, we heard Russian music and songs that reminded us of the elegant beauty of Russia and its birch forests. Tám was particularly moved, declaring the restaurant was part of Moscow. 
We agreed to let Tám to do the ordering because he knew the food well. Our starter was Russian salad (VNĐ88,000) which is a mixture of several sorts of vegetables, herbs, nuts and roots and a special mayonnaise imported from Russia. I’ve heard of the dish, but it was the first time I had tried it.
Tám said the dish was good for women because it helped keep them slender.
Next came the traditional red beet soup (VNĐ35,000) which is so nutritious it seems to be a part of every Russian meal.
“The dish comes from a favourite vegetable of the Slavonic people, known as red beet root," said Tám. "It is great to enjoy hot soup in winter because it keeps you warm, and to have cold soup in summer because it helps to reduce body heat.”
For the main course, we ordered grilled pork (VNĐ 118,000), Leningrad steamed rolls (VNĐ 48,000) and salmon caviar (VNĐ 680,000/ a 70gr tin), cucumber and salted garlic stalks (VNĐ108,000).
The waiter told us that these dishes were traditional Russian food, particularly the salmon caviar which I tried for the first time. Eaten with bread and butter, I really enjoyed  when chewing the eggs which crackled in my mouth. 
Fragrant: The grilled pork is so tasty that no one can refuse.
Zest: Russian salad can be an enjoyable meal in itself.
Herbal: Kvas, a traditional Russian drink, is almost addictive.
Delicious: Grilled salmon Russian style is as good as it gets.
The grilled pork was similar to Vietnamese pork, but a bit different as the meat was fragrant and crispy and had a buttery taste.
I liked the dish and ate so much I felt thirsty. Tám told me I should drink Kvas (VNĐ 58,000 per glass), a traditional Russian drink.
Looking at the drink, I thought it must taste like Coke or Pepsi that I don’t like. Tám encouraged me try, saying it was fragrant and cool. “I’m an addict of Kvas. I drank one or two litres a day when I was working in Russia,” he said.
He was right. The drink was so good that I drank three glasses despite the low temperature outside. Curious, I asked Tám about Kvas and he said the drink was being fermented from buckwheat or rye. Although fermented, Kvas is listed as non-alcoholic in Russia.
“It is much more tasty when mixed with peppermint or strawberries. Russian cooks still uses Kvas for cooking cold summer soup known as okroshka,” Tám said, adding that Zvenigorod town in Moscow’s northwest was the birth place of  the beverage. Despite being full, I still wanted to drink more Kvas.
Tám wanted to order other Russian dishes, such as Salotka salted fish, grilled salmon Russian style and black salmon eggs with white Russian bread, but I told him we could visit the restaurant again.
We left with a resounding impression of quality, cosiness and fresh, aromatic food. We all agreed that we felt as if we were in Russia, and the staff were clearly passionate about the dishes they were serving.
If you’re looking for a calm respite from the hustle of downtown Hà Nội or fancy trying some traditional Russian dining, Little Dream Moscow comes highly recommended. — VNS
Little Dream Moscow Restaurant in Hà Nội
Address:  4 Nguyễn Gia Thiều Street, Hoàn Kiếm District, Hà Nội
Tel: 0246.680.9339 / 0937277939
Opening time: 9am to 9pm
Comment: Authentic Russian cuisine with modern flair in a spectacular, cosy setting and refined hospitality.