Musafir (Kyiv, Ukraine)

Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group, and in Ukraine they (used to) live on the Crimean peninsula. Now, with the political disturbances, many Crimean Tatars have moved to the Ukrainian mainland. In fact, the owners of the Tatar restaurant Musafir have relocated from Crimea to the centre of Kyiv for this very reason.

The Tatar cuisine has influences from the Turkish food (e.g. phaklava, a variation on baklava) and from Uzbekistan (such as the plof, a rice dish).

The interior of Musafir is a bit minimalistic, and there are a lot of tables.  It was also very busy, so we were lucky to have a spot. However, it was reserved so we had to leave in 1 hour. That is definitively doable, so we took the chance !

Appetizer at Musafir
Appetizer: hummus with bread

There are some vegan choices among which the cheburek with mushrooms, grilled and stuffed aubergine and lentil soup. The waiter was very kind and suggested to get some dishes tweaked to make them vegan. However we stuck to the menu since there was enough to pick from. I noticed that in this restaurant they tend to use butter for frying instead of oil. So if you are ever in a Tatar restaurant, that is something to ask about. As an appetizer we got some bread with humus.

Lentil soup at Musafir
Creamy lentil soup with croutons
The lentil soup with croutons which was delicious and very creamy. The cheburek is  a very thin dough shell, with mushrooms inside. It comes with some salad and 2 sauces. One was sour cream, but okay, in Ukraine is hard to let go of that 🙂 The other sauce was vegan. I really enjoyed the combination of flavours here, the thin bread with the soft mushrooms. Great!
Cheburek at
Mushroom-stuffed cheburek, with sauces

The grilled aubergine comes with rice, and a slightly spicy sauce. The lentil soup and cheburek were listed as starters, and the aubergine as a main course.

Close-up of cheburek at Musafir
The cheburek dough is super-thin

Unfortunately there were no vegan desserts. There is special Turkish coffee though, served in little cezve And of course there are many other types of drinks, like sodas, and several local specialities like kompot.

Stuffed aubergine at Musafir
Aubergine with spicy sauce and rice
As mentioned, we had to leave in 1 hr because we hadn’t reserved. And it was very busy, so that is no problem. I do have to say that the service was a bit lacking in some respects. For example, we were not offered a drink until the end of the meal. Also we got basically all our food in 15 minutes. Great because that is fast, but that also meant the warm dishes were starting to cool down. Additionally it gave an unpleasant rush to the meal. I think that it was just due to the rush of having the table freed, which is understandable. Still the staff was so nice and accommodating, and the food was great, making this an overall positive experience.
I’d go again. And reserve a table in advance this time 🙂
Type of place: Tartar restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (Ukrainian):

Author: Sandra

Running, cats, sewing, vegan cooking and eating.

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