July 10, 2015

Vladimir’s Place @ Jalan Inai

Authentic Russian Cuisine in KL

Inspired by the love for a Russian girl, Vladimir’s Place opened its door to our country late last year. The Malaysian-owned restaurant and bar is located in the busiest area of Jalan Imbi at Jalan Inai. The restaurant is helmed by two Russians Chef Vladimir Anuchin and Dmytro Koba, both from Ukraine.

Russian cuisine is pretty new to me. The only Russian dishes I have ever had are Russian Borsht and Blini with Caviar, but that pretty much hardly sums up my knowledge to the cuisine. Now there’s also hardly any Russian restaurants in Malaysia so it’s a good thing Vladimir’s Place is available for the Russian cuisine experience. Most of the time, diners are rather weary of trying an uncommon cuisine but once you see what Vladimir’s Place has to offer, you might be game to try Russian cuisine after all.

Russian cuisine is diverse due to its largest geographical elements. Due to its harsh climate, I find Russian cuisine to be comforting in most of their dishes. In addition the climate, Russia Empire went through various aristocracy and influences so Russian food is also refined in many ways and has continue to evolve through time. The country is also very rich in its produce so the cuisine is filled with lots of seafood and meat together root vegetables, legumes, mushrooms and fruits. Another popular item in Russian cuisine is vodka. Russians enjoy vodka very often and in the cold harsh season, vodka helps to keep them warm. For more Russian cuisine, visit Wikipedia here.

Back to Vladimir’s Place, the restaurant’s décor is rather opulent in an old-fashioned setting. One can expect lots of spacious sectioned dining area which offers diners better privacy. Dressed in themed of red, black and light natural colors, it’s the ornate chandeliers set with pastel plaster ceilings, art pieces and luxuriant decorative pieces such as a grand gold clock that glams up the ambience.

The menu offers a good selections of appetizers, soups, salads, main courses and desserts. The beverage list is also very decent with a solid list of liquor, beer, cocktails and non-alchoholic beverages. A quick glance at the price seemed very reasonable too. I had the Compote drink (RM6.50) which is quite a common beverage in Russia where fruits are cooked to achieve the fruit juice served chilled.

We left our orders to the chefs since we are not familiar with the cuisine. Our first appetizer was Pickles (RM13). Russian cuisine is always accompanied by lots of pickled vegetables to as the vegetables are preserved or pickled to last longer. The pickles also helps to balance the richness of the cuisine. This one is relatively simple with cabbage, cucumber and tomato.

We were curious about Cold Boiled Pork (RM11). It sounded plain. I personally think the names on the menu didn’t really do the food justice. We had tender and moist thinly sliced chilled pork served with crushed black pepper and mustard. Nothing extraordinary but it taste so much better than it sounds.

Chef Salted Salmon (RM15.50) is another dish that showed how Russian cuisine uses pickling and curing as a large part of its cooking. Paper thin slices of salmon cured in salt are beautifully arranged and served with dots of balsamic vinegar and dill. Reminded me of smoked salmon in some ways as the flavours are quite similar.

Pork Lard (RM10) sounds rather intimidating and yet we wanted to try this. A typical Russian delicacy that is best chased down with vodka, the pieces of high content fat had a little lean meat as well. Generously sprinkled with black pepper, there is a nice creamy, salty and peppery note to the pork lard. It actually tasted pretty good in smaller portions.

I have had blinis with caviar before and had always had a fondness for the buckwheat pancake served with caviar, smoked salmon or sour cream. Caviar is also another highly prized Russian export, especially the luxurious sturgeon black caviar. At Vladimir’s Place, we had their Pancakes with Red Caviar (RM16). I really enjoyed the large pieces of thin pancake with the salty pearls of salmon roes. There is something pretty delectable about the salty notes with the lightly sweet pancake that enriched my palate. I would have love some sour cream too with this dish to give it a creamy note. One can opt to have this pancake with sour cream, Chef salted salmon or mushroom besides the caviar.

From the salad menu, we had Beetroot Salad (RM16.50). Small cubes of roasted beetroot with carrot, potato, cucumber, peas, onions and topped with pickled onions. It’s lovely with lots of different textures and well-seasoned. I like the pickled onions which gave the salad a nice hit of tangy notes.

Olivier with Chicken (RM16.50) is another classic Russian salad which is creamy potato salad jazzed up with pickles, eggs, onions, chicken and more. The version here is yummy. The addition of the pickles really perked up the flavours from the normal potato salad.

Shuba Salad (RM17) or also known as Herring Under Fur Coat Salad is my favorite salad of the lot. It’s probably because I love pickled herrings! It’s a layered salad of chopped pickled herring, potato, carrot, egg and beets dressed in creamy dressing. The tangy flavours of pickled herring really elevated the heavy creamy notes while the beetroot is delicious too…

Russians loved their soups and soups are perfect for their extremely cold climate. One of the more popular soups in Russian cuisine is borscht, a gorgeous soup made with beetroot as its main ingredient. I have had borscht before and enjoy it but Vladimir’s Place Classic Russian Borsh (RM16) is even better. The soup is just utterly comforting with lots hearty flavours from the broth of beetroot, vegetables and meat. The dollop of sour cream added a lux bite of flavours.

Solyanka (RM17) is another hearty soup worth ordering. The soup is another concoction of meat and vegetables. The element that makes Solyanka different from borscht is that this soup has pickled cucumbers added instead of beetroot. There are also olives, lemon, spices and herbs with small chunks of beef, ham and a dollop of sour cream too. It’s very tantalizing in flavours and quite addictive with the sourish notes. I would certainly order this again.

We started our mains with Beef Cutlet with Pumpkin Mashed & Truffle Oil (RM28). Resembling beef meatball that are decent in flavours and quite moist, these matched well with the lightly sweet pumpkin mashed laced with truffle oil, rocket leaves and the drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Boned Chicken Kiev Cutlet (RM26) is one of their best-seller at Vladimir’s Place. The cutlet is nicely crisp and golden outside while the inside unveiled a juicy chicken stuffed with greens and garlic butter. It’s a very popular dish in Russian cuisine and I can understand why. Simple with good flavours that when executed with precision, the chicken is delicious. The mashed potato served is a good sidekick to the chicken as it is very creamy and smooth.

I find Russian cuisine pretty much down-to-earth so far and the dishes have been really humble in flavours. The Beef Stroganoff with Forest Mushrooms Sauce & Potato a la Pushkin (RM28) also echoed the same sensation. I certainly wouldn’t mind savoring a platter of beef cooked in a rich mushroom cream sauce. The beef was tender and so flavourful with hints of tangy notes from sour cream in the sauce. Paired with boiled potatoes cooked in butter, onions and herbs together with sliced pickles, the beef stroganoff is pure comfort food in every sense.

Pork Steak (RM26) is relatively simple. It was a pleasant dish of well-seasoned pan seared pork steak that is tender and tasty. It has a thick brown gravy with some grilled vegetables as its accompaniment. Nothing to shout about but nothing to fault as well.

I enjoy dumplings and I find myself also enjoying these Russian dumplings. We had their Pelmeni (RM19.50) and Dumpling (RM18). Both have a filling of beef and pork. The dumplings have a nice balance of tender dough skin and filling so each bite has a savory and juiciy element that is very enjoyable. Pelmeni is served boiled with a nice sprinkling of herbs while the other one, simply named Dumpling is another version of Pelmeni but is lightly sautéed with fried onions and served with a generous dollop of sour cream. The sautéed version is so tasty and very aromatic with the fried onions. Of course savoring this with sour cream simply elevated the dumplings to extra lusciousness!

We also tried their Sea Bass with Vegetables Poached in Wine (RM27.50). Beautifully pan seared with a nice crisp skin, the sea bass was flaky and sweet. Paired with the vegetables poached in wine simply rounded up the dish with a soothing and delicate enjoyment.

Their dessert list may not be plenty but I was really happy with the Apple Charlotte (RM12.50) and Cheesecake with Sour Cream (RM12.50). The Apple Charlotte had a cakey texture with a layer of warm sweet apples and this went well with the generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. The Cheesecake with Sour Cream was a bit unusual as I was expecting a cake but once I had a taste, these pieces of pancake stuffed with a gorgeous tangy cheese filling was simply scrumptious. The light sprinkling of icing sugar and the berry compote was perfect with the magnificent cheesecake rounds. The Cheesecake with Sour Cream is a Must-Order dessert!

My first experience of Russian cuisine was truly memorable. Russian cuisine evoke a sense of homemade dishes that I can enjoy daily. The cuisine is unpretentious and showed how comfort food prevails in the country. I may not have much experience about Russian cuisine but if you ever want to experience what the cuisine is about, Vladimir’s Place is perfect for a taste of authentic Russian cuisine cooked with lots of heart.

32 Jalan Inai, off Jalan Imbi
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2144-5636

Business Hours:
Tuesday-Sunday   11am to 11pm
Closed on Monday

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