Artful Eating at Khlam

MTKhlam may aim for artists, but at lunchtime it attracts office types.
KhLAM is a Russian acronym that stands for "artists, litterateurs, performers, musicians," and this newly opened eatery does indeed have an atmosphere that lives up to its name, albeit in a rather ostentatious way -- down-and-out beatnik poets should head round the corner to Kvartira 44.

Khlam feels like it should be an artists' semi-private club, and ostensibly it is still in trial mode working out the glitches. There's no sign above the door and the menu is a simple laser-printed list. In any case, the interior looks fully finished. There's plenty of gold, a good portion of purple and violet and a dash of green -- surprisingly, the colors actually work together. The lighting is varied and even includes some industrial seafaring lamps.

Although the interior may be finished, the service still needs a bit of work, but presumably this will be sorted out by the time they put a sign over the door.

The menu is interesting and offers a particularly large selection of vegetarian options, for a Moscow restaurant. The menu's most novel section would have to be its "green list," consisting of some 50 vegetable ingredients that can all be ordered individually to create just about any salad that comes to mind. Every separate ingredient costs 100 rubles, plus there are five different sorts of seafood that can be added.

The regular menu ranges from the typical, such as salads including Caesar (prawn, chicken, and salmon -- all 250 rubles) and olivye with crab, duck and crayfish (450 rubles), to more innovative options such as a spinach salad with grapefruit, papaya and prawns under a soy sauce (280 rubles) and artichoke, asparagus, grapefruit and sunflower sprout salad (450 rubles). Mains include a baked sea bass with olive sauce (700 rubles), grilled tiger prawns with three sauces (370 rubles) and beef Stroganoff with potatoes (380 rubles).

Wine starts at 280 rubles a glass of red or white. There is no draft beer, only bottled Corona or Budweiser at 150 rubles a 330-milliliter bottle.

Khlam, 3 1st Golutvinsky Per., 238-1678, 10 a.m.-last guest, M. Polyanka.