Sightseeing in Tashkent

MTTashkent's wall mural shows the Uzbek city's modern day skyline.
The first thing that strikes you upon entering Cafe Tashkent is a large mural of the cafe's namesake completely covering one long wall. Even more striking, however, is that the mural of Tashkent does not paint a rosy-hued representation of the Central Asian city. It's a surprisingly honest, if rather pastel, cityscape complete with Soviet city blocks and modern buildings. In this respect, Cafe Tashkent is refreshing in that it is not some Ali-Baba themed clich?, but rather a quite modern take on an Uzbek eatery, especially given its rather non-central east Moscow location. There are still enough divans and cushions to provide for some relaxed reclining, however.

Besides a fair selection of the basic European/Russian dishes, there is a good range of all the Uzbek favorites. Starters and soups include the classic naryn noodles with thinly sliced meat (270 rubles), fried chuchvara lamb dumplings (200 rubles) as well as regular chuchvara (215 rubles), ugra osh noodle soup (210 rubles), kaitnama shupra bouillon with lamb and vegetables (260 rubles) and, of course, the ever popular lagman noodle soup (255 rubles).

The mains section lists a classical celebratory plov (390 rubles) and manty with meat (290 rubles) or with pumpkin (220 rubles). Samsa come stuffed with meat (120 rubles), mushrooms (90 rubles) or pumpkin (100 rubles). Naturally, there is a large range of shashlik, starting at 95 rubles for chicken and reaching to 590 rubles for lamb ribs. Draft beer starts at 100 rubles for a half-liter of Carlsberg, while Krusovice goes for almost double at 180 rubles for a half-liter.

It probably isn't worth making a trip especially to dine at Cafe Tashkent, but if you are passing by or live in the neighborhood, then Cafe Tashkent's opening is certainly good news.

Cafe Tashkent: 22/2 Gospitalny Val, 360-7432, 11 a.m.-midnight, M. Elektrozavodskaya.