Famous Crimean Tatar restaurant moves from Crimea to Kyiv
You don’t now have to go to Crimea to visit what was one of the peninsula’s most popular restaurants, as its owners have relocated it to Kyiv, citing disagreements with Russia’s occupation authorities.
Musafir, meaning a visiting guest in Crimean Tatar, moved from Bakhchysarai, the unofficial Tatar capital of Crimea, to Saksahanskhoho Street in May, just over a year after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in March 2014.
A balanced touch of ethnic motifs lend the interior a pleasant design. Elaborate Tatar rugs cover the simple white walls, while old-looking copper lamps hang from the ceiling. Benches covered with soft, ornamented pillows line the solid-wood tables, all working together to make one relax. Quiet Islamic music adds to the atmosphere and doesn’t muffle conversation.
When the Kyiv Post visited, the crowd consisted mostly of middle-class couples and young women. Some were tapping on their laptops – Musafir has free Wi-Fi and wall outlets near each table.
Clothed in Tatar dress, the staff is complaisant and brisk. Beware, however, that an obligatory 7 percent gratuity charge gets added to the check.
For lunch, the Kyiv Post chose a plate of three chebureky, deepfried turnovers served with vegetable salad and two sauces (Hr 80), lagman soup (Hr 50) and a glass of icy sharbat (Hr 15).
The turnovers had a fine, crusty dough with juicy meat inside – an ideal combination. The lagman was faultless, too. As for the sharbat, it was fresh, but not very cold to counter the sweltering heat outside. The portions were large and satisfying. And while Musafir is certainly not the cheapest restaurant in Kyiv, every dish it served up was worth the price.
Musafir is worth returning to, if for nothing else than to taste their pilaf, which online customers have praised. Another enticement for a second visit are the various kinds of coffee (Hr 20 for any cup), flavored with cacao, cinnamon and cloves. The management promises to add shish kabobs and other grilled meals to the menu soon.
So the location may not be the same, but Musafir is still striving to be one of the country’s best Crimean Tatar restaurants.