These winter evenings in the capital are so chilly; making walking around Kyiv a less leisurely stroll and more hurried march from point A to B. That’s exactly the story this evening, when, as my father and I scurry across the heart of the city, we stumble across Pache Grill Bureau near Maidan Nezalezhnosti. The glow from the huge, welcoming windows proves to be an irresistible refuge from the cold to me. My father, it turns out, thinks likewise and we exchange a silent look before heading on in!
The first impression, as the saying goes, is the last impression and at Pache Grill Bureau it is the décor that first strikes you. From the bar decorated with tree rings, to the walls to the restaurant’s logo – it is a motif repeated throughout Pache Grill Bureau. The cut timber combines with grey and pale beige colours, and textured whitewashed walls to create a pleasant and calming space ideal for relaxed dining. Surface impressions aside, winter weather demands good, hearty nutrition so we eagerly study the menus.
Each section of the menu is concise, but I must admit the selection of dishes is elegant: the cold starters choice has such gastronomic best-sellers as salmon and veal carpaccio (68 and 63hrv respectively), salmon or veal tar-tar (65hrv and 60hrv), an Italian meat plate (90hrv) and some sophisticated specialties like goat cheese soufflé with asparagus (56hrv) and warm chicken liver with eggplant gratin (48hrv). I’m a big fan of bruschetta – I don’t miss a chance to experiment with this anti-pasta appetiser at home, so naturally I’m seduced by the bruschetta with roast beef and arugula I see on the menu and promptly order it.
The salad section also pleases me by being imaginative with its absence of such stock-standards as Greek or Caesar salads, which I’m fed up with! Instead, there’s Nicoise with tuna grill (76hrv), chicken grill salad with ciabatta and bacon (50hrv), salad with pears, avocado and Roquefort cheese (44hrv), salad with roast beef (68hrv) – as you see the list is far from being ordinary! And true to the concept of being a “grill bureau”, various grilled offerings dominate the menu. Being somewhat of a grill connoisseur, my father opts for a salad with grilled seafood, while I go for a light salad with zucchini, oranges and feta.
Delicious Drinks and Sumptuous Salads
Drinks arrive while we are still studying the menu – it’s a strawberry Mojito for me and red wine for my dad (Cabernet Maison Vialade). It takes some time for the chef to prepare our order, but good music, an elegant interior and amazing drinks make us forget about time. Instead, we kick back, relax and just enjoy the evening. I really appreciate the fresh strawberries in my cocktail and they serve as a reminder of spring, while the good red wine that my father is sipping saves me from one of his traditional paternal sermons!
Our salads come with the bruschetta, which we split. My father’s choice of salad is a gorgeous-looking plate of rocket with an assortment of sea delicacies on top: prawns, rings of calamari, octopus, pieces of salmon – all of them grilled and seasoned with lemon and olive oil and decorated with cherry tomatoes. Not only it does it look great, my father says it tastes fantastic. My salad looks also very artistic – its basis is zucchini carpaccio together with salad leaves, oranges and feta cheese, nuts. They combine to make a very delicious and healthy combination of freshness and piquancy, which I thoroughly enjoy, noting the unusual but genuinely simple selection of ingredients in the dish. The bruschetta needs a special mention, because it truly deserves it – the ciabatta is crispy, where on top is generously seasoned rocket, juicy slices of roast beef, tiny pieces of cherry tomatoes and delicate pesto – it’s so good, I eat it all myself!
Moving on to the mains, as we expected we see a vast selection of meat and fish on the grill. For meat lovers there’s pork fillet baked in bacon (74hrv), veal medallions (88hrv), duck breast (86hrv) and enough cuts and varieties of meat to satisfy any carnivore. The menu unfortunately does not give detailed explanations about the dishes, so you’ll need your waiter’s guidance if you need help in making your choice. My father though is determined to sample the Florentine steak – probably the most expensive dish on the whole menu (250hrv per 350 grams).
I’m more in the mood for fish tonight, and again the variety is extensive – tiger prawns (120hrv), dorado or sea bass (110hrv per each portion of 300 grams), trout or salmon (80 and 82hrv respectively). I order the grilled tuna steak and move on to choosing garnishes. Potatoes are served grilled of course (15hrv), as well as the vegetables (15hrv), but you can also choose rice or homemade pasta (15hrv each portion). I go for grilled asparagus, which I hope will go well with my tuna fish, while my father takes the grilled vegetables.
Our main dishes come quickly, as cooking on the grill is a matter of just a couple of minutes. But this does not mean any shortcuts have been taken: both meat and fish have been prepared in marinades and other tricks from the chef’s repertoire before they hit the grill, to get the very best flavour, as well as a tender and beautifully juicy texture.
Tasting our steaks we’re convinced the restaurant’s chef is a master of his craft! My tuna is gorgeous – it’s gentle, rosy-pink inside and well-seasoned; accompanied with grilled asparagus seasoned with pesto it’s a dish worthy of the highest compliment! My father’s steak is just as sensational: first, it’s huge, secondly, it’s tender and juicy. And finally, with the addition of a little barbecue sauce, grilled vegetables and salad, it’s a real “man’s” dish!
The list of desserts is again concise, but has very interesting options such as lemon pie (40hrv), peach strudel (40hrv), berries baked with sabayon – a light, mousse-like dessert made by whisking eggs, sugar and white wine over gently boiling water (50hrv). My father is the conservative type and makes the “safe” choice of Napoleon cake, while I opt for something much more creative – mango panna cotta (40hrv). Again the portions are substantial – I’ve never eaten such a big panna cotta! It’s very original as well – the mango taste is distinct and the fresh berries on top add freshness. My father’s Napoleon cake, which I also help myself to, is very soft and delicate, both earning top marks from us.
It’s still bone-numbingly cold as we leave the restaurant, but we leave with warm memories of this evening. Pache has made a mark on us and is bound to on other diners as well; I predict it will swiftly become a new hot spot on Kyiv’s map of excellent restaurants – so take note.
Strawberry Mojito – 75hrv
Cabernet Maison Vialade (25hrv/100 ml) – 25hrv
Salad with Grilled Seafood – 82hrv
Salad with Zucchini, Oranges and Feta – 40hrv
Bruschetta with Roast Beef and Arugula – 47hrv
Florentine Steak – 250hrv
Grilled Tuna Steak – 90hrv
Grilled Vegetables – 15hrv
Grilled Asparagus – 25hrv
Napoleon Cake – 38hrv
Mango Panna Cotta – 40hrv
Green tea – 25hrv
Grand Total – 752hrv
Pache Grill Bureau (Kostelna 3)
Hours: 09.00 – 23.00, 279-0211