Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Host- stop in the next time your are in Bishkek

Last evening two friends and I went to eat at “The Host”, an Indian restaurant across the street from our hotel in Bishkek. This is the second time I had eaten there, but the first for dinner. The restaurant is below ground, so the entrance is a series of polished marble stairs covered with what looks like hand-woven rugs. The lower door is opened to great us by one of the wait staff. The restaurant is decorated in shades of brown. To get to our table, we cross a glassed covered pond, which is a bit disconcerting at first. One either side of the pond is a curved floor-to-ceiling glass panels that serve as the spillway for a water feature. In the middle of the glass is a statue of an Hindu goddesses. We are led to a table in the back of the room.The table had banquet as well as chair seating. Each place setting has chargers, wine glasses, brown silk napkins embroided with the restaurant's name, each having a silver anpkin ring. Our waiter arrives. He is a young Asina-appearing man dressed in  traditional French-waiter style with a long brown apron and white gloves. He has difficulty with English, but he is is better at it than any of us are with Russian. We ordered a bottle of cabernet, which is uncorked and poured for us, follwed by the obligatory tasting. To me it was not really full-bodied, but it certainly was acceptable. The waiter waited to receive my verdict; he had a white napkin properly draped over his arm. We ordered from the high tea menu, which consisted of various samples of Indian food- sort of like an Indian version of tapas. The food was wonderful, except one of my female friends didn’t care for the mint sauce. She asked our waiter if she could get a peanut sauce instead. He didn’t understand her request, so the manager (maybe owner) of the restaurant came over to the table. He, of course, was very fluent in English. After he left, my two female companions went into spasms over his good looks. Indeed, he was handsome-, like someone straight out of a Bollywood movie. He also was dressed well in a pair of jeans and brown sport coat. He, like so many people in Bishkek, was slim and trim. The restaurant also had a nice mix of background music, ranging from international to new age. The service was attentive and the waiter’s white gloves were a nice touch. All of the food was wonderful, but particularly the fish and tempura-like vegetables. The total bill was about $50- not at all bad for a full meal for three and a bottle of wine. As we exited, it had become dark, and before going up the stairs, we notice a plexiglass chandelier made up of squares that seemed to be lit by LEDs that changed color. It was very nice. For those of you who get to travel to wonderful Bishkek, I suggest a visit to “The Host”. It is a classy, reasonably priced restaurant with good food in this most surprising of central-Asian cities.

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