At Izyum, You Can BYO

MTColorful, sparkling decorations jazz up Izyum's modest interior.
BYO is unheard of around these parts, so it is a surprise to see that the recently opened Izyum restaurant offers this opportunity, albeit with a caveat. This Eastern restaurant lets you bring your own alcoholic beverages with the proviso that you spend a minimum of 1,000 rubles per head. This would not be a problem if the restaurant were not so cheap -- it would truly be hard to spend such a sum there.

Salads start at 95 rubles for Korean-style carrot, averaging around the 150 ruble mark. The cold starters section lists no fewer than eight varieties of assorted plates (from 110 rubles for assorted mushrooms up to 380 rubles for an assorted fish plate), and strangely enough, kimchi (100 rubles). The hot starters include a nod to modernity with chicken wings (180 rubles) and calamari rings (180 rubles) plus some old standards such as four sorts of julien (mushroom, chicken, salmon -- all 110 rubles, prawns 230 rubles). The Eastern influence starts to become more apparent in the soups section with dishes such as lagman with vegetables and handmade noodles (230 rubles). The range of fish mains is modest compared with the meat dishes -- there are just six fish dishes, starting at 240 rubles for battered pike-perch, against 28 meat dishes, starting at 200 rubles for a Khanum steamed meat roll. The plov (270 rubles) is a good choice.

There is also a selection of shashlik and baked goods such as khachapuri and samsa.

At first glance, the drinks menu would seem so cheap as to definitely make BYO unnecessary, but be warned that the cabernet at 410 rubles a bottle is not recommended. It's better to stick to draft beer -- Sibirskaya Korona for 80 rubles a half-liter or Stella Artois for 100 rubles.

On the whole, the restaurant, with its large interior complete with disco ball and dance floor, and its menu, featuring a cast of thousands, seems most suited as a venue for family functions and other such banquets -- at least then you might ring up a bill for the BYO.

6 Ul. Sepukhovsky Val, 626-8310, noon-midnight, M. Tulskaya.