The walls are a picture gallery featuring the Tsars of old. One of Bali's most formal of settings suggests you are about to explore new and different ground. Bali's restaurant with a difference has opened, experience a feast, a journey of mystery!
On the site of the ill-fated Pala, Slavyanka shows virtually no resemblance. Before this place was Modern International, the new tenant is grand and old fashioned. It is elegant and stylish with more than a touch of history.
Think Russian, and you immediately imagine lavish plates of iced caviar with a stack of blinys on the side [thin Russian pancakes]. It is not a surprise that it has already become Slavyanka's most popular entrée. The Caviar Table is a selection of caviar from sturgeon, keta and salmon, with those blinys, of course. Not cheap, but rare things always cost.
Other cold entrees also include caviar; A Salad of Radish and Hunchback Salmon with red caviar or Boyarka, just smoked salmon with red caviar. Russian style Herrings are served with onion and boiled potato. The Fish Table combines sturgeon, halibut, eel and salmon. Roll your selection together in paper thin pancakes. Other pancake combinations can be with sliced salmon, and an unusual mixture literally translated as 'French Blame', minced chicken and mushrooms in a wine sauce, very tasty.
The Meat Table includes boiled pork, a meat roll, beef tongue and a homemade sausage. Studen is a variety of different meats [pork shin, chicken and beef] that have been simmered for 5 hours then left to set in its own jelly upon cooling down, and then served with a sharp horseradish sauce. Marlin in Jelly is from a similar process, but with fish.
Because of the incredibly cold conditions of the Russian winter, under snow and ice for many months, fresh vegetables are often salted to preserve them. The Salted Mushrooms are a good example of this, combining different varieties in one dish. Padcherevok is traditional food from The Ukraine, bacon and garlic is salted, black pepper added. Another dish from the snow-bound north is Shaved Venison, consisting of thin shavings of frozen raw Venison which you pick up with your fingers and dip in a salt & pepper mix before eating, most unusual, but great with an icy cold voldka!
Hot entrees are also plentiful. The Pilgrim's Bag is a pastry pouch stuffed with a spicy mix of pork and onions. You eat it with your hands whilst sipping from a cup of bouilion. Boyarsky is one of the oldest Russian dishes, pork, potatoes and other vegetables simmered in a claypot. Hearty food! The Chicken Livers are prepared Hussar style. Perfectly trimmed they are pan-fried with onion then re-cooked in a claypot with red wine. You add the sour cream yourself. Don't miss out on this dish, it is very special! Another claypot dish is from Georgia, the Chahokhbili of Slovyanka, with chicken and potatoes.
Many hot entrees are cooked with sour cream, the Veal Tongue with eggplant, the freshwater Pike Perch fillets [imported] with onion and the Chanterelle Mushrooms are just some of them.
Russians are just about as famous for their soups as for their Caviar. Everyone knows about Borsh. At Slavyanka it is the Ukrainian vegetable and meat version that combines meat, beetroot, potatoes, cabbage and carrots, all cooked in a meat bouilion of beef or pork. Less known is the Russian Solyanka, it has beef and chicken as well as veal tongue, salted cucumbers and olives. Whilst the winters are cold, the summers are hot and Okroshka is a cold soup full of goodness; cucumber, radish, potato, eggs and ham all combined with a secret Russian liquid, Kvas. Very different, and a great way to start a Bali lunch.
Kulebyaka is another old traditional Russian snack. Either a meat or fish version, it is a type of bread bun that has been stuffed with pork or veal mince or fish and mushrooms, either way a small bowl of bouilion, which you continually sip from to reduce the dryness of the roll.
Pelmeny could be described as a Russian Tortellini, small pockets, either fried or boiled, in a soup. Pelmeni Boyarskie is at the top of the list, stuffed with minced venison. The Siberian Pelmeni is stuffed with minced meat [beef, pork or lamb] whilst the Siberian version [Starodumskie] uses salmon.
Whilst you could just keep on ordering different entrees and snacks all night, there are many main courses to select from, as well.
A Borodin's Roll is a flat escalop of veal rolled around mushrooms and onions, then baked in the oven. The Mushroom Roll combines mushroom and bacon rolled in an escalop of pork. The General's Roll is chicken rolled around mushrooms.
The Shaslik is a traditional product of the Russian grill, slabs of meat [usually pork but mutton for the Islamic areas] with different spices, interspersed with vegetables. Each region has its own variation. Many other meat and fish grills are available with a variety of side dishes [potatoes done different ways].
My all time favourite meat is Venison, and at Slavyanka it is carefully presented with the mandatory cranberry sauce.
You select your potato side dish, the most traditional is pan-fried with onion and salted cucumber or boiled with fried bacon and onion.
Still hungry? A Russian dessert will finish you off nicely. Pirozhky stuffed with cheese or cherries, Blinys topped with a poppy seed jam, a Baked Apple with mint and honey and a Cherry Sirniki, fresh cherries combined with cottage cheese in a pancake.
Everything at Slavyanka is different, even your aperitifs of Mors [cranberries boiled not crushed] and the super healthy Honey Kvas. This is a most unusual and entertaining dining experience, not to be missed.