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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Baku Flavors at Barashka

MTArkady Novikov's Barashka presents a modern take on Azeri cuisine.
When the original Barashka restaurant opened just off Ulitsa Petrovka some 2 1/2 years ago, the little Azeri eatery was quite an innovation on the local dining scene. Prior to its opening, Caucasus restaurants were usually characterized by their rustic interiors, more often than not striving to recreate the feel of a rural house or mountain village. Likewise, the food was traditional, served in brown clay pots and the like.

The original Barashka turned this all on its head, with its Arkady Novikov touch. The design is thoroughly modern and bright, the Azeri food is adapted to make it lighter and is served on contemporary white china. The formula proved popular, which led to Barashka giving birth to an eponymous offspring.

The new Barashka is certainly no junior, however. Prominently located in the center of Ulitsa Novy Arbat, Barashka II is not only bigger but even brighter and airier than the original, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows that run across its front. The design doesn't differ greatly from the original and, as seems to be flavor of the moment at Novikov restaurants, there are numerous glass jars filled with produce lined up around the place.

The menu also differs little from the original, although the prices are a little higher. The salads are straightforward and rather pricey, costing roughly the same as the mains -- Baku tomato and homemade cheese salad costs 550 rubles, and a Baku herb and tomato salad sells for 400 rubles.

More classical but nonetheless modernized dishes include soups, such dyushbara with tiny lamb dumplings in broth (350 rubles) and piti with lamb, chickpeas, mint and potato (350 rubles). Traditional mains include grape leaves stuffed with lamb (350 rubles), and Baku-style cabbage leaves stuffed with lamb (400 rubles).

There are Azeri wines at a reasonable 650 rubles a bottle, but on a recent visit they were all semi-sweet. Other dry wines start at around 1,500 rubles. Beer in the bottle includes 330-milliliter Corona (150 rubles) and Budweiser (150 rubles) and half-liter Erdinger (170 rubles).

21 Ul. Novy Arbat, Bldg. 1, 228-3730/31, noon-midnight, M. Smolenskaya.