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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lunchtime Munchies

MTManches has a hip interior and surprisingly low prices considering its central location.
For an eatery so central, it's mighty hard to find. Hidden in a courtyard off Mokhovaya Ulitsa, Manches is tucked down a narrow alleyway in the bottom of a nondescript brick building. The interior is a bohemian blend of raw brick and concrete, together with some zebra-patterned furniture and tall potted plants. At one end of the hall is a large buffet where the day's specials are offered.

The menu at Manches (or do they mean "Munchies"?) is not so much cafe as cafeteria. The range of simple dishes changes daily, and all are listed together on a whiteboard hung behind the buffet. A typical day's options might include mixed salad leaves, apple in yogurt, Greek salad, tomatoes & cucumbers, mashed potato, rice with mushrooms, Brussels spouts, chickpea soup, baked vegetables, steamed catfish, chicken fillet with vegetables, baked pork and beef patties. Probably the most novel aspect of the menu is that all the options are identically priced -- by weight -- 45 rubles per 100 grams.

The beverage list is equally simple. Soft drinks (Coke, Fanta and Sprite) all sell for 50 rubles per 200 milliliters. Coffee is also reasonable at 75 rubles for espresso, ristretto or Americano. A cappuccino costs 100 rubles. Miller beer in a 330-milliliter bottle costs 100 rubles. Perhaps your best bet, however, is the homemade lemonade and hard-to-find ginger ale at 130 rubles for half a liter.

Manches may serve cafeteria-style food at cafeteria prices, but its hip interior gives it a classy touch -- making this a good choice for casual workday lunches or just a quick coffee break.

11 Mokhovaya Ul., Bldg. 10, 629-7610, 8 a.m.-11 p.m., M. Okhotny Ryad.