Just opposite the Tretyakov gallery, cafe Sok is the perfect place to go if you’ve spent several hours staring at Russian iconography.
The menu is extensive, offering raw, vegan, and vegetarian meals. The atmosphere is jovial, a man who has a daughter at Malvern College was treating his two younger daughters to lunch during his break, and three older women were gossiping next to me. Again, about two words of English were spoken, but no matter. It was a point and click job.
The pictures looked pretty.
Outside the snow gusted itself into a blizzard. Russians all seemed to own non-stick snow coats, while mine seemed to attract flakes. I was happily thawing out with my diet coke. As in Iceland, and indeed in Hungary in January when I went with my friend Katherine, much of my time in Russia has so far been spent hiding from the elements. It’s just so cold being outside for any longer than three hours is impossible. I’d craved a hot bowl of soup all day but was so tempted by the thought of hummus that I opted instead for that and some dumplings.
Note for all future or current visitors: dumplings, although delicious, are basically potato ravioli, which is heavy. Despite this, and the weirdest hummus I’ve ever eaten, I still managed to leave hungry. I remained hungry until I went to the cinema to shelter from the Arctic Gale and sat through the second best exotic marigold hotel with a packet of Pringles that I demolished in seconds.
It was cheap though. Maybe because I was a foreigner or wearing a coat or had brown hair or something, but there was a 20% discount on the bill. Brill!