Pelmenya on Ulitsa Krasina

Peter Hainsworth

Over the past few decades the central part of Moscow has changed so much that it is hard to imagine what parts of it looked like even a few years ago. Be that as it may, old timers like yours truly sometimes experience momentary flashbacks, (without taking anything) in the few parts of the city where the buildings haven’t been replaced. There was a Pivnaya there, that car salesroom used to be a publishing house, that bank was a laundrette, and so on. Very occasionally one comes across shops and eateries which still bear the same name or at least still sell the same sort of thing. These Holes in the Wall (not ATM machines) remind one of a previous era.

One such place is the Pelmennaya at number 9 Ulitsa Krasina, between Tishinskaya Ploschad and Sadovaya Kudrinskaya. This is a small establishment, which has an almost parallel world look about it. Moscow just doesn’t have this kind of place any more, does it? Gone are the rubbish and cigarette ends on the floor, and drunks no longer start off the day in the right way with their morning vodkas here. But ‘Pelemennaya’ as it is simply called; (all such establishments had the same name), hasn’t changed its pelmenni business at all. You can buy the same food and drink here as you could twenty years ago. OK, it now has bannyatype wooden panels on the wall, to ‘give it a more modern’ look, as owner Antionina Rubakova calls it. And the clients have changed. Now there are as many smartly dressed chaps from Ducat III which is just round the corner as poor pensioners and unemployed, although they are there as well. It is no longer a working-class strong hold, it is Working-Class Plus, the plus being retro. All are treated in the same nonchalant way by Sergei who manages the establishment,who has seen all sorts over the past twenty years. Things may come, like regimes and all that, but this place, which used to be Pelmennaya in Soviet times, is a Pelmennaya now and probably will be a Pelmennaya forever. Long Live Pelmenni!

100 roubles buys you 200 g of the mushy things, and you have a choice of ten different sauces from mayonnaise to vinegar. I usually buy a stomach pummelling double portion of pelmenni with Smetana. Vodka is served in good old cut glass glasses in 50g doses. There is a soup of the day and of course ‘kompot,’ hot chocolate, tea with half an inch of sugar in it. Business lunch costs 180 roubles, but I splash out and stuff myself somewhat indecently with a lunch for all of 250 roubles. The place is open from 10:00am-17:00pm, so it is not on the -pre or -after club network.

Address: 9 Ulitsa Krasina.