Restaurant review: Dacha, Central – Eastern European food that will have you coming back for more
An attentive, enthusiastic waitress and bread served with garlicky whipped lard kicked off a delightful meal that included a fantastic home-made kielbasa and cottage cheese pancakes
It wasn’t ideal to eat heavy Eastern European food during a heatwave, but by the end of our meal at Dacha, we were so pleased with the meal that we’d be happy to go back any time.
It started with the waitress (who turned out to be one of the owners, along with her sister, the chef), who was warm, charming and attentive. She enthusiastically recommended dishes, and was happy when we cleaned our plates.
We suspected we were going to like the food when the bread came: any place that serves garlicky whipped lard in place of butter or olive oil is all right with us.
The home-made kielbasa (HK$155) was very large for a starter (it was listed under zakuski) but it was fantastic. The meat was finely ground, juicy, perfectly seasoned, and served with a mild beetroot-horseradish condiment and really good grainy mustard. Blini with salmon caviar and sour cream (HK$158 for three; if you’re feeling extravagant, you can also order the pancakes with sturgeon caviar) were a lighter and more delicate starter. We loved the oddly named “herring under a fur coat” (HK$98), a delicious dish of layers of beetroot, egg, potato, carrot and marinated Baltic herring.
There’s a whole section of dumplings, and we tried two. Siberian pelmeni (HK$88) had a dense meat filling and were served in a bowl with herb butter, and a separate dish of sour cream (the sour cream – served with many of the dishes – was very good; it was richer and less tangy than others we’ve tried). Pierogi with potato and onion (HK$86) could have been browned a bit more but we still enjoyed their rib-sticking heartiness.
Cabbage rolls (HK$175), on the other hand, were lighter than we expected. The cabbage had been wrapped around a meat and rice filling, then topped with a light tomato sauce. Chicken Kiev (HK$235) had moist chicken breast (we suspect it had been brined), a good buttery filling, and was crispy fried.
For dessert, we liked the honey cake (HK$85), its thin layers of cake were interspersed with cream; but even better were the cottage cheese pancakes (HK$85), stuffed with a light, tangy filling and served with raspberry jam and sour cream.
Dacha, 38-40 Hollywood Road, SoHo, tel: 2420 3555. About HK$290 without drinks or the service charge.