206 - Revelling in Rustic Russian Fare
When my parents visited the former Soviet Union in the late 80s, they came back with tales of cabbage prepared fifteen ways and watery soups fit for a gulag. Banish and erase any of those thoughts (or memories) from your culinary vocabulary and head straight over to Melody Restaurant in Thornhill, where Chef Igor’s Russian and Ukrainian food speaks proudly and deliciously for itself.
One of the first things that really intrigued me about Chef Igor’s varied offerings was his cherry wood smoked chicken (he also does duck and various other meats- just ask!). This is the REAL deal folks- none of that chemically enhanced, liquid smoke business here- just on-site slow smoked, tender meat that had my taste buds happily reeling for days (I still suffer from smoked chicken cravings!). Chef Igor tells me he learned how to make this in his native Ukraine, where he also coincidentally used to cook up a storm for KGB head honchos and their VIP guests. Yes, the man knows what he’s doing in the kitchen.
Over thirty years experience also means Igor knows exactly what goes into making a marvellous Mlin. Served in traditional individual clay pots from his homeland, this tender beef, onion and mushroom stew is perfectly prepared and served with a side of nutty and fluffy kasha, a buckwheat pilaf. If you feel like having a complete Russian experience, feel free to order some Georgian wine or perhaps a shot of Nemiroff Rye Honey Vodka (at 80%, a shot’s all you’ll need!). And don’t forget to say hello to Igor and his lovely wife Nina- two of the most convivial and gracious hosts this side of the Urals you’ll ever meet!
1118 Centre Street
CANADA L4J 7R9