Friday, January 26


yesterday was a bad day. it had snowed on wednesday, then mostly melted overnight. stalin and fluffy’s morning walk was muddy, slippy and grumpy-making.

back at the flat, enid’s cable modem was blinking sadly at her - no interweb, no interweb, no interweb. enid called voila, her inaptly-named cable provider - neither french nor prone to deliver anything with the kind of speed and flair that demands a “voila!” voila said (to paraphrase) “you are a stupid girly and you know nothing about technology. reboot everything and phone us up to tell us it’s working again.”

enid did so, twice, but her message to voila remained that the modem wasn’t working.

finally voila actually bothered to look into the matter, and told enid that the workmen outside her house had cut through the cable. “we should get it going again today, in not then tomorrow maybe,” they promised, with the kind of dedication to service that got molvania where it is today.

of course this had to happen on the very day that everyone in enid’s company in london was in a big offsite meeting and she had chance to work on the server. enid would like to meet that mr. sod who invented the law of bad things happening when they have most impact, and shake him warmly by the throat.

enid called the man and begged to share his office space. he, being a very nice man, threw some people out of a meeting room and invited her in: enid was saved. she worked hard, and in a couple of hours had managed to achieve what she’d expected to take all day. sometimes computers go right - it’s good to remember that when so often they don’t.

the man suggested lunch. although enid doesn’t usually do lunch, today she was celebrating success snatched from the jaws of failure - and the man had mentioned titanic, supposed to be one of the poshest restaurants in kernib. enid should have learnt her posh-restaurant-in-eastern-europe lesson by now, but she hadn’t.

they stepped inside the restaurant; their coats were whisked away from them. titanic was expensive-looking in that versailles-meets-brothel kind of way that should have made them run for the local pelmeni shop... but it was too late.

they ordered israeli wine; the georgian saperavi, their usual standby, was almost as expensive.

the menu was the usual blend of “european” and “japanese”. enid does not use quotation marks lightly; she means them. no european would recognize “baltimore veal stake* with blue cheese and pineapple souse*”. no native of osaka would choose the man’s starter of assorted spicy sushi - an exotic fusion of japanese-style raw fish mixed with molvanian mayonnaise on nori-wrapped rice pudding.

enid’s pumpkin soup was pretty much exactly as she makes it herself at home - therefore tasty (she claims modestly) but not very exciting.

if every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, the same is not true of kernib high dining. every posh restaurant is bad in exactly the same way - expensive fixtures and fittings, service that's too formal and at the same time inadequate, poor food that is a very odd blend of molvanian and japanese. enid's advice is this: if you open your menu in a molvanian restaurant and see sushi on it, run and hide.

on the other hand, when they are bad, cheap restaurants are bad in very different ways - one might a huge menu of which nothing is actually available, another will char its meat to a black cinder, and yet a third will make enid very ill indeed. but most cheap restaurants are actually quite good - something that can only be said for a tiny minority of the expensive ones.

enid and the man had finished their starters a long time before a waiter came up and told them that their main dishes were delayed and would arrive in seven minutes. his precision motivated the man to start his watch's timer function. after twenty-seven minutes enid and tm had finished their bottle of wine, and ordered two more glasses. at last, after thirty-seven minutes, their fish arrived. bread-crumbed and served with a lemon slice and parsley, it wasn’t exactly 4 star dining. both enid and the man had forgotten to order a garnish (molvanian for vegetables and carbohydrate) so their mains sat sadly alone in the centre of their vast white plates.

the bill came promptly: £90.

what a titanic mistake.

*these were actual spelling mistakes on the actual menu in one of the best restaurants in town. haven’t they considered giving one of the no hoper brits in o’briens a free meal in return for correcting their menu?


Carpetblogger said...

I'm pretty sure that this is that oligarch-tastic restaurant at the top of the assy office building on Tolstoho Ploshad. The fact I cannot recall the name is indicative both of my ability to erase Kyiv's dining scene from my mind, and the fact that it really doesn't matter. It could be any one of 15 different places.

My favorite sushi bar combo is at Mambo, the quasi-mexican place by L'bidska Metro. Sushi aside, it does a passable salsa and the chips are pretty good if you're jonesing. What do you care? You're moving to SF.

enid said...

hi carpetblogger. it really was titanic - panasa mirnogo, 8.

not been to mambo, will have to try that one. enid had heard rumours of passable mexican in podil, but when they tried it, it wasn't, really.

Beccy said...

Has enid ever though of starting up a resturant business selling good food that all the ex-pats would appreciate? It could be a money spinner.

Of course Enid had other more exciting moves to look forward to and according to my sister there is lots of great dining to be found in SF.

Sally Lomax said...

£90 and no veg!!!!!!


I fully symapthise with the computer moan too!!!


Carpetblogger said...

Oh, that one in Podil is appalling, yet always packed. Mambo is alright. Expensive, but not offensively so.

Titanic. interesting name choice. Did they not get the memo?

Carpetblogger said...

And, Enid, thanks for the shoutout on Petite Anglaise!


Wendz said...

I loathe eating in crap restaurants - puts me in a right bad mood. Rather stay in a cook. But at least you have good restaurants to look forward to - coming up soon!

enid said...

hi beccy, enid has thought about starting up a restaurant. she doesn't think it would be hard to be better than most of the competition. and with the kind of money you can charge in posh restaurants, there's got to be a living there. but you're right, she's leaving soon - and anyway, she imagines starting a business in molvania is nearly as hard as it is in france.

hello sally, you're right, it's a stupid amount of money, especially when you think what the average income is here in molvania.

carpetblogger, no problem! enid thinks more people should read you. anyway, she's just passing on the goodwill - sally has done similar things for her and lots of interesting people have come to read her. she's worried they'll be bored.

wendz, you're right. enid is looking forward to some san francisco eating. she reads on sam's blog about the amazing food you can buy at the weekly farmer's market and she's already planning some slap-up noshes.

Little_Miss_Moi said...

Here is the message I wrote that got deleted: blah blah blah. Blah blah blah.

I tried to post this message, all about my volia connection dropping out at least eight times per day and... it dropped out. I don't have time for enough expletives before it drops out again. Au revior

enid said...

the irony, eh, little miss moi? enid notices you live nearby - her first moldovan reader! we should meet up and compare notes on kernib.