Flavors of the Caucasus

MTBakinets is now called Triumf, but little has changed at the restaurant.
Azeri restaurant Bakinets has apparently decided to rebrand itself and is now known as Triumf. Rebranding is not uncommon on the local restaurant scene, especially when a restaurant is looking to inject some fresh mojo, and a fresh name often draws some attention. Triumf has certainly opted for rebranding-lite. The interior has hardly changed. The most significant difference is that the paintings of Baku's oil rigs have been replaced with some more conventional artworks. As such, the interior is that of a classical Caucasus restaurant -- elaborate plaster moldings and columns. Heavy drapes conceal small private rooms along one side of the main hall.

If the huge menu has changed, it has perhaps widened in its range of Caucasus cuisine. There are 36 varieties of shashlik, starting from 170 rubles for lamb-rib shashlik and reaching up to 550 rubles for a sturgeon sadzh kebab. The sadzh kebabs (lamb -- 460 rubles, veal -- 500 rubles) are not your typical kebab at all, but rather come served in a large sadzh frying dish along with potato, tomato, onions and various other additions with thin lavash bread on top.

Besides the regular khachapuri options such as Adzharian (160 rubles) and Georgian style (140 rubles), the restaurant prepares kutab (the thinner cousin of the khachapuri), which comes stuffed with meat, cheese or herbs (all 50 rubles). Other classics include Georgian-style lobio beans (140 rubles), kharcho stew (150 rubles), piti chickpea and lamb soup (220 rubles) and dushbara dumpling soup (170 rubles).

Another interesting addition to the menu is a good selection of Armenian and Azeri wines, which start from 600 rubles per bottle or 120 rubles a glass. Draft beer is either Stella Artois (90 rubles a half-liter) or Budweiser (150 rubles a half-liter).

Triumf: 54/56 Novoslobodskaya Ul., 609-2166/2242, 11 a.m.-last guest, M. Savyolovskaya.