Buyan Russian Haute Cuisine and Caviar Bar

I’ve never been much of a vodka fan but when the opportunity came up to attend a vodka tasting event at Buyan Russian Haute Cuisine and Caviar Bar (wah quite a mouthful of a name), I jumped at it. Buyan has been on my to-go list for a while, and I was curious to see the vodkas which the Russians are so famous for.

We were a bit early for the tasting but this gave us a chance to mingle with Alex from citynomads, the bartender and the sommelier – all very nice and friendly people. That, plus the fact that they serve 45ml shots here instead of the regular 30ml shots - I think this could be my new favourite bar!

Whilst waiting, Alex initiated us to a rum shot (which he) called “Flirt”. Basically you take a wedge of lime, dip coffee powder on one side and cane sugar on the other, put it in your mouth, give it a good chew and down the shot of rum. Amazing! I’m not even a fan of rum but I wanted seconds *grin*

By the time the vodka tasting started, we were slightly buzzed so I decided it was time to sample some of the food. As mentioned by the earlier reviewer, the menu came on ipads and there were detailed desciptions and pictures, which made ordering easy. I decided on the Herring Under Fur Coat – a salad of chopped herrings mixed with potato and beet root, and doused with (was it mayo?) sauce. It was rather yummy, this dish and it went well with the shots of vodka.

We had 6 shots of vodka in all. The more memorable ones were the sibirskaya vodka from Siberia and this chilli-infused vodka name of which I can’t remember. I’m no vodka connoisseur but they definitely tasted smoother than the Smirnoff and absolut vodkas I was familiar with. Fortunately, to line our stomachs, they served up some traditional khachapuri (cheese baked with bread). Hot from the oven, this was gooey cheese goodness!

For dessert, I ordered the breaded baked apple. It was quite a novel idea – a whole apple baked into a crispy crust. It was quite tasty but the apple was a bit sour. The next time around I will order the blini pie instead.

I know it sounds excessive but we couldn’t leave Buyan without trying one of the finest Russian vodkas, the famed Beluga. At $45 a shot it was pricey but Ndee was in a happy mood (we all were) and he offered to buy the shots. I guess my vodka palate had really evolved throughout the night, because I could really taste the difference in the premium vodka – it was silky smooth, very subtle and elegant – well worth the hype (and $$$).

Surprisingly both Ndee and I only had mild hangovers the next day. Now I understand how the Russians can drink so much vodka – it’s not a myth, the good ones really don’t give bad hangovers! Anyway, I am definitely going back to Buyan to try out more of the food. And have another shot of “Flirt” *runs hands in glee*