Normally, duck is a roasted favorite on a festive dinner table but not part of our daily meal plan. That’s something Duck Stories strives to remedy. This unique spot uses this premium meat to elevate street food into a feast at affordable prices
Call it a stall, booth, canteen, café, or restaurant, Duck Stories or Utinyie Istorii (in Russian) is all of the above and still something different. Boldly squeezed into Shota Rustaveli – a downtown street famous for its abundance of quality eateries – this newcomer is a serious contender on Kyiv’s fine dining scene.
A Little Goes a Long Way
This small, if not tiny, outlet boasts a simple, straightforward, though not primitive exterior and interior design. Clear lines paired with a yellow-black-brown palette create a poignantly democratic atmosphere. However, the spot’s appearance should not mislead guests – it provides a solid concept that has nothing to do with fussy, over-prepared items. The so-called mono-format place serves five (so far) dishes, each of them corresponding to a certain cuisine and all of them containing the key component – duck.
Valeriy Sozanovskiy, Duck Stories’ co-owner and co-founder, explains: “The hardest thing was to define a signature ingredient. As a globetrotter, I always try something new in each country I visit. Lately, the most delicious and original dishes have been with duck. To be honest, only a few places in Kyiv offer properly cooked duck. That is why we went in this direction.”
Make sure you try
Donald Duck (a burger from America)
Inside, a big counter occupies most of the narrow space, barely fit to accommodate four or five people. It is a ‘take-away’ venue, yet those wishing to “dine in” can eat outside, weather permitting. We spot a single table for two in the corner where we make ourselves snug and ready to experiment.
No Tales – Just True Stories
In a couple of minutes, the server brings two trays featuring two plastic bowls and plastic flatware wrapped in napkins. We start with Tom Duck – a representative soup from Thailand. Unlike many ‘posh’ restaurants, they serve it incredibly hot here. The savoury broth is nourishing, reasonably spicy, and reasonably fat with a complex gradually revealing flavour formed by tofu, boiled eggs, sesame seeds, noodles, and red peppers. And, of course, slices of supple duck. It makes a perfect lunch meal for folk working nearby.
99 UAH Lemonade (passion fruit, red bush) 39 UAH
We move on as we order the place’s bestseller – Doner Duck – a shawarma. What we get by no means resembles banal, low-cost, or greasy food sold by many street vendors. To my surprise,
I learn that authentic doner kebab stems from Germany (not Turkey as I originally thought).
SANDWICH WITH SOPHISTICATION
Far from a sandwich person, I am nevertheless thrilled to try a smart version of this snack. I do enjoy the good-looking thin-layered flatbread lavishly stuffed with minced duck – tender and juicy. It has a pleasantly sweetish taste owing to the raspberry sauce inside. Elegantly presented, Doner Duck differs from trivial ‘finger sandwiches’.
Japanese-styled Hoshi Duck is next on our list, and we indulge in seared rice mixed with chunks of duck, sesame seeds, chopped red bell peppers, celery, and boiled eggs.
The What’s On Checklist
English Menu (partially) + English-speaking staff + Wifi + Price $
WO Rating (in its segment)
No liquor can be found here, so instead, we wash our meals down with delectable homemade lemonades available in a variety of flavours – strawberry, mango, orange, passionfruit, and rooibos. Good old teas and coffees are also at your disposal.
We get engrossed in ‘reading’ Duck Stories, while the café gets busier with consumers standing in a line eager to pick up their packages. Launched in early September, the place has already generated a buzz, where what’s inside is more important than what’s outside. Perhaps a slogan of Duck Stories, aiming to change the general attitude towards fast food.
Shota Rustaveli 4
⎯ 11:00 – 21.00 (Mon-Thu) and 22.00 (Fri-Sun)
+380 67 212 8888