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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No Mare Milk at Yurta

MTNomadic murals are the only thing vaguely Tuvan at Yurta cafe.
If you're craving some Tuvan delicacies like araka milk vodka or the sheep-blood dish khan, be forewarned you won't find them at cafe Yurta.

This might come as a surprise, both because of the cafe's name -- referring to the portable, tent-like dwellings of Tuva's traditionally nomadic population -- and its location. Yurta is in the basement of the Moscow representative office of Tuva, a remote southern Siberian republic that is best known for throat-singing (and not renowned for its cuisine).

Despite the wind chimes in the entry passage, the small stall of ethnic goods and large photos of Tuva on the walls, there's nothing particularly Tuvan to eat, the closest thing being lamb chop shashliks (390 rubles).

The menu consists of three broad sections: European, Japanese and Central Asian. In the first category, you can try an original broccoli cream soup (105 rubles) with the surprising addition of red caviar that bursts on your tongue with each mouthful. The Japanese section is dominated by sushi but there are some other classics such as miso soup (75 rubles). The third section is mostly shashliks, which start from 160 rubles for chicken. Draft Lowenbrau goes for 100 rubles a half-liter. Hookahs and board games are available for your entertainment. There's home delivery, and a 30 percent discount on the entire menu from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

With a casual bar area and a trendily styled dining room, the interior is more like a modern Moscow DJ cafe than an ethnic eatery.

"We just called it Yurta because of the location," the manager said by phone. "We have no connection to Tuva, we just rent the premises."

8 Donskaya Ul., Bldg. 2, 236-1717, 11 a.m.-midnight, M. Shabolovskaya.