It’s a Thursday evening. There is no getting into this venue without calling first, and even then I’m shown to a bar table facing the window. This massive piece of glass lets its visitors to peer out, but also allows for those on the outside to peek in. And there is much peeking. I waste little time. A Bellini is ordered.
“Versions of” is key to the establishment, and this classic Italian cocktail, along with the Negroni, is no different. The garam masala piques my interest as Kyril my server whistles off options. Complete with peach puree, Martini Prosecco, peach foam and the Indian garam masala spice, an amuse bouche such as this is definitely amoosing. Of course, other options are available, which I will leave to you to investigate.
The cocktails alone are reason enough for me to return: Truffle Bloody Mary, Medicine for Melancholy, Blackberry Basil Gimlet; each reasonably-priced by western standards around the 175 UAH mark. In addition, the wine list makes for interesting reading. By the glass is available as is by the bottle, with vintages highlighted across the entirety of Italy, with an average bottle running 1 500 UAH.
A Recognised Taste
I am busying myself with the menu when my Beef Tartar arrives, handsomely displayed blanketed in sandwich grill format. The beef has been mixed with some fabulous kind of saucy mix, topped with fresh-shaved parmesan, a quail’s egg, and fresh sage. On the side are fresh cut cucumbers drizzled in oil and a dash of sea salt. It comes on a small silver tray, sort of canteen-like, but retro and fresh at the same time. It feels like street food, but on a 5-star level. Pay attention to the hint of amaretto when you order yours.
One cannot go Italian without pizza or pasta. I am torn. Kyril suggests the pasta for out, the pizza for home. I’ll take him up on the latter another time. And so, Cacio e Pepe it is. This traditional dish meaning cheese and pepper in Italian, comes looking like a bowl of frothy soup. But don’t be fooled: there is pasta under there, and an incredibly rich yet unexpectedly light dish awaits. The description says the spaghetti is fried, which may be, because there is a distinct yet delicate sear to the aftertaste. In addition, the Pecorino Romano and the 7-spice blend beautifully to create a redacted recipe this chef can be proud of. Add shavings of truffle and you’re golden.
Numero Quattro Bellini 169 UAH
Beef Tartar 349 UAH
Mongrana, Querciabella (150) 198 UAH
Cacio e Pepe 167 UAH
Truffle shavings 97 UAH
Cannoli 135 UAH
TOTAL 1 115 UAH
Make Sure You Try
Panzanella Salad – a twist on the classic using yesterday’s pizza 165 UAH
Saffron Seafood Risotto – made for two from scratch so make sure you have time 649 UAH
A careful Evolution
The idea behind the interior is open Italian if redacted. In English, the term redact is less positive: to edit, censor, or obscure, often for legal purposes. In the local vernacular, it is literally translated as “an expression of thought”. It is just this idea that defines the old Red Army Avenue’s newest venue. The space
reminds of an Italian courtyard with real olive trees gracing the entrance, dressed in bright lavender light. Look up – it’s not Da Vinci that has set his hand to the ceiling, though it could well be a local student of his.
The place is packed, so if you think you’re going to get a table on a walk-in think again. Make sure you call, and even then you may need to wait a few days. You’ll also be seated so as to hear the conversation going at the next table, though this is true of any good old Italian trattoria. Brush it off.
My gastronomic adventure comes to an end with the “traditional” Italian Cannoli – three little tubes filled with an original cream filling, topped with pistachio and praline nuts. It concludes an evening that is indeed an expression not just of thought, but of a love for food, atmosphere, and service, redacted to convey a very specific message: the careful evolution of a centuries-loved culture.
V Vasylkivska 43
⎯ 08.00 – 00.00
The What’s On Checklist
English Menu (to be launched)
English-speaking staff +
WO Rating ★★★★★