Monday 9 January 2017

My Dining Experience At Rumi Restaurant, Almaty

My friends and I  just landed in Almaty, Kazakhstan and we were hungry. It was way past dinner time and we just wanted to have something nice and authentic as our first Kazakh meal. Walking along Dorstyk Avenue, we entered a few restaurants to view their menus. They were mostly western eats but these were not what we were searching for. A waiter in one of the restaurants recommended 'Rumi' for local Kazakh and Uzbek cuisines which happened to be just around the corner.  There was no hassle finding the place and that was how we came to dine in this 'incredibly beautiful' restaurant.
We didn't bother checking out its menu like we did in other restaurants. We decided to settle for Rumi as it was almost 9pm. 
Rumi Restaurant has an interior that really overwhelmed us. It is reminiscent of a palace and looks exquisite, even a little exotic. Before I started dining, I already like the place. How true it is that good food is not the only ingredient for a great dining experience. The charming ambiance has set the stage, hopefully for a memorable dinner. We took our seats and looked through the menu. Even though there were pictures and an English version, the cuisines were quite foreign to us. The waiters and waitresses couldn't speak English and got the cashier to come over to help communicate. A regular patron sitting one table away voluntarily came over too to recommend the things that she thought tasted good. The restaurant staffs were not less polite and friendly. My first impression of Kazakhs is really good. They are a friendly and helpful lot. 
There are a variety of pilaf (a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth) in the restaurant menu but all were sold out that evening. We wanted beef dishes and these too were sold out. We were recommended  a few items with horse meat but I was hesitant about it. Even though I am adventurous with food I do make an exception with meat from animals that I haven't tasted before. I suddenly recalled a terrible experience in Adelaide, trying kangaroo steak. The smell was alien and so repulsive I almost puked after the first bite and I didn't want that to happen here, in Almaty. My friends were OK with horse meat even though none had tasted it before. I finally agreed to take chances. We decided to share out 3 items with horse meat and 2 items with chicken.
The service was very slow but we didn't seem to mind. The restaurant is so well embellished that we could spend time basking in its splendor and posing at all the lovely corners. With nice backdrops to take photographs, it is understandable to be a little vain.
I am often agitated when food takes too long to be served but who can be when there are so many Kazakh motifs to be admired in this place. Its staffs and owner didn't seem to mind us moving around posing here and there as would restaurateurs from other fine restaurants.
I love the intricate details on its pillars, walls and floors.
The design and architecture is well executed in every part of the restaurant leaving no room for banality.
The restaurant also features vintage furnishing and ethnic ornaments as decorative items brightening up the various corners and spaces within the dining hall.

Our food was finally served. This dish called 'Manty' with soft thin dough and minced horse meat was appetizing! [ Price: 1190 tenge or approx USD3.60]
The Kebab which features horse meat cutlets served with pita was excellent. [Price: 1290 tenge or approx USD3.90]
The Caesar salad with chicken was not that unforgettable though. [Price: 1590 tenge or approx USD4.80]
This rice dish called Fricassee of Chicken in white cream sauce with mushrooms was nice but a little too rich.[Price: 1390 tenge or approx USD4.20]
This baked snack called Samsushki with horse meat filling was delicious. [Price: 490 tenge or approx USD1.45].

Overall it was a great meal. My experience trying horse meat for the first time is quite memorable. By the way the texture and color of horse meat is similar to that of beef. It is tender and surprisingly the smell is not even half as strong as that of beef. Horse meat is a delicacy in Kazakhstan and is more expensive than other meat.

I thought we had to pay a bomb as the place looks expensive but the bill was a pleasant surprise. It came to only USD5 per person, drinks and taxes included.

Related Posts:
1. Glimpses Of Almaty
2. Almaty Sightseeing
3. Dining In A Traditional Kazakh Yurt
4. Staying In Kazakhstan Hotel, Almaty

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