Once the Mediterranean-flavoured Belvedere, now Guramma has emerged in modern Asian magnificence. Is it worth the numerous dollar signs that dot the menu? We find out.
Built atop the Kyiv hills, there is no doubt the view – especially in the warmer months – is something for the Instagram history books, #NoFilterNecessary. But that is not the only vista worth casting your eye over.
A Marriage of Culinary Culture
Walking in, it is clear design is a key element to this venue – the way the teardrop crystal chandeliers sparkle and shine amidst the charcoal-painted factory tubes and pipes that run across the ceiling like snakes. There is wood, there is concrete, there is marble, there is lush velvet in jewel tones, and all of it just sort of works in purposeful merriment.
The menu too is an eyeful: one for food, one for wine, and one for drinks. It is the latter I pick up first and notice not only the great selection of teas but whiskey also. And then there’s the cocktails. At some point I might come back to see what the Pornstar Martini is like. Tonight, I’ll settle for a Lychee Mojito. Wine may come later, which starts at a very reasonable 140 UAH by the glass.
With Nikkei cuisine on the rise here in Kyiv, Guramma does not disappoint in the food department. Marrying Peruvian cookery with that of Japanese, the menu takes on the best of two culinary regimens, providing (perhaps too) many options for anyone less gastronomically inclined. Styles and ingredients pop out: tempura, kombu, miso, spicy peppers, citrus, robata, wasabi. The mouth waters – I am up to the challenge.
On the Menu
To start, popcorn shrimp with spicy aioli sauce: it is what it says, and topped with slices of spicy red peppers, it is a delicious option.
The spicy edamame are a modern take on the traditional salted version, and make for a fabulous snack on their own. Of course, there is more to come.
The duck rolls make up the meat part of the starter. Tender duck rolled in simple plain thin pastry, it’s the hoisin sauce that shines through. But don’t stop there – a sprig of coriander ensures a little party for your mouth.
Our server Andriy made a strong argument earlier for any of the baby spinach salads. I was unconvinced to be honest and caved only to include a little greenery. I was wrong, and have no problem admitting it, as the spinach, dressed in citrus flavours, gratings of parmesan, and sprinkles of deep-fried cuts of onion is one of the best things I’ve tasted in a long while. The scallops are tasty too but the salad itself stars in this show.
Fast on its heels is the soft-shell crab roll, which is decadence, with bits of dried kelp or kombu dusted atop. You don’t need the soy sauce or the wasabi to enhance anything, it is already soft and perfect as is.
The other selection of meat this evening is the New Zealand lamb chops which come with anticucho miso sauce, and a picturesque array of grilled vegetables. The only complaint: it’s too good, there’s not enough.
With that, dessert is ordered – a trio of crème brule: the first, a classic crowned in dried ginger; the second, a coffee spotlighting featuring Vietnamese grounds; and the third slathered in maracuja fruit. None of them last long.
And so this is how I spend my evening, soaking in the ambiance of an incredibly well-thought-out venue from design to ingredients. Stick around any evening of the week and you’ll be treated to live music from 8, which also happens to be when the place really starts to fill up, so best to book in advance.
Though Guramma caters to the well-heeled upper class, which is absolutely reflected in their prices, it seems a place for all, including a group of ladies celebrating a milestone birthday, to a group of young men admiring said ladies, to a quiet dinner for two taking it all in. It is indeed Japanese glamour at its best, and it is well worth the few extra yen.
Lychee Mojito 178 UAH
Jameson & Coke 170 UAH
Tributa 2013 Syrah (btl) 1135 UAH
Popcorn Prawns 259 UAH
Spicy Edamame 167 UAH
Duck Spring Rolls 239 UAH
Baby Spinach Salad w Scallops 426 UAH
Roll w Soft Shell Crab 426 UAH
New Zealand Lamb 787 UAH
Crème Brule Trio 194 UAH
TOTAL 3 981 UAH
The What’s On Checklist
English Menu +
English-speaking staff +
WO Rating 5 stars
(Dniprovskiy Spusk 1)
Open: Monday-Thursday 12.00-23.00, Friday-Saturday 12.00-02.00
+38 097 999 3288
Make sure you try…
Nikkei style scallops yuzu agave aji amarillo sauce on a bed of guacamole 335 UAH
King crab tempura with ponzu 512 UAH