11 Mirrors Restaurant

Unexpected Epicurism

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With 11 Mirrors espousing a surprisingly ultra-modern, sleek and contemporary decadence in the heart of historic Kiev, it’s not a surprise that its in-house restaurant harbours similarly unexpected epicurism. Located on the mezzanine floor, cloaked in warm, amber hues, this intimate and inviting space offers the hotel’s take on a continental breakfast, light lunch, 24 hour room service, plus drinks and dinner. The menu is modern Ukrainian-European fusion, whilst the wine list is a blend of the classical New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, champagne houses, and Bordeaux wines with a splash of colour vis a vis the white Ukrainian Rhine Reisling Rhine Riesling from he Duke of P.N. Trubetskoy and his Pinot Noir.

We ordered two glasses of the Reisling and were caught unaware by its crisp, dry, apple notes and zesty finish. Not the sweet Hungarian style Reisling we were expecting, this made such a fantastic accompaniment to our savoury meal that we ended up sticking with this throughout.

To start, we shared two salads – the Roast Beef Salad with wild rice popcorn, candied orange peel, and alioli sauce, and the Porcini Mushroom [salad]. Both were delicious, though the roast beef salad was somewhat an acquired taste, the tender, juicy beef coupled with the slightly sweet zesty orange peel creating an unexpected flavour combination that, oddly enough, worked. As a first taste of the restaurant’s food, the innovative flavours seemed in-line with the hotel’s overarching theme of avant-garde modernity, whilst the comforting familiarity of the roast beef and salad pairing invoked the place’s emphasis on warmth and intimacy.

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The Porcini Mushroom with Jerusalem artichoke puree, stewed pistachio nuts, and arugula was a more conventional affair, featuring a dish of luscious roasted mushrooms in a bed of rocket with pistachios, wrapped in the wonderfully creamy yet tangy sauce.

For the second starter, or rather, the soup course, as is more commonly deemed in Eastern Europe, we had cream of Pumpkin Soup served with shrimp, granola, and sesame oil. Though uninspiring by name, this was possibly one of the best soups I have ever tasted – quite literally, and unexpectedly (again, more surprises from the hotel!). It came served as a bowl of thick, peachy creamed pumpkin permeated with soft granola, three large grilled prawns rested on-top, drizzled with sesame oil and sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds. A spectacular flavoursome pairing between the sweet pumpkin and slightly oriental notes of the sesame oil, the grilled prawns were almost a bonus to an already wonderful mouthful. Seriously good soup.

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For the main, we shared the Black Cod Miso dish with wilted greens that made an unplanned appearance on the menu to replace the Red Snapper dish (yet more innovation!) and the Crusted Sea Bass Fillet with tomato Dashi, parsley root and cherry tomatoes. The Black Cod was fantastic, sumptuous and indulgent as it should be and with a melt-in-your-mouth meaty, buttery texture to rival that of the Michelin Nobu-esque venues, whilst the Sea Bass Fillet was a pleasantly lean and more simple, clean dish that added welcome harmony and balance to the otherwise sybaritic main. Pleasingly, no sides were needed and both mains were an appropriately filling size post-soup-of-my-dreams.

With the dessert menu offering a cheese board, coffee and cake, or a pumpkin pie dish, our dessert was yet another unexpected twist, as our hospitable host alerted us to a ‘surprise’ from the chef. This came in the form of a beautifully put together meringue dish called Kiev cake – a historic creation from December 1956 by the Karl Max Confectionery Factory that was symbolic of Kiev city all over the Soviet Union. With its two layers of light meringue mixed with cashew, delicate chocolate glaze and rich custardy, buttercream filling, it’s pure decadence – yet surprisingly not too sweet. Perhaps a metonymy of Kiev itself – a city full of pleasures and charm but none too sugary, none too pure. I vowed to buy one at the airport for my colleagues.

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The dinner, in sum, was filled with unexpectedly delightful twists and turns: from the finesse of the Ukrainian wine, spectacular Pumpkin Soup that I will have to hunt out the recipe for, to the indulgent Black Cod Miso dish and winsome Kiev cake, we were both pleasantly taken aback by the strength of the 11 Mirrors Hotel restaurant experience. Whether you’re staying here or not, we would both highly recommend trying it. The prices are reasonable, the service is stellar, and the food is fantastic. Well done, 11 Mirrors: you have two new advocates with us.

11 Mirrors Restaurant
34A B.Khmelnytskogo Street
Kiev
01030
Ukraine

BLACK BOOK QUARTERLY