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On the cover
7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


Take me out!

How Much?

Its a reasonable question. How much does this cost? How much time have you got? How much do you love this new Italian place on Zhulyanska? Its what youll be asking yourself when you try Quanto Costa, a relatively new restaurant with all the makings of a true osteria.

Its Friday night, its time to either pump up the jam and head out for a night on the town, or slow it down to a snails pace and enjoy a quiet evening out. We opt for the latter, and pull up to this unassuming little eatery tucked into Kyivs city centre scenery. The parking out front is all taken, which is a good sign, so we take the last spot once occupied by an orange traffic pylon, now occupied by our car. The parking attendant has been trained well not only has he directed us into the space, he comes round to open my door, and then opens the door to the restaurant. Full marks for service and we havent even taken our coats off.

Not Your Average Chto Vam Venue
Greeted by a very pleasant administrator, in what we will later learn is the glass-enclosed (for winter) terrace, we are shown to the coat check where another gentleman awaits to help us disrobe. More smiles from the hostess, and an enjoy your evening is uttered before we are shown to our seats a table not far from the goings-on of the wood-fired oven. As with the parking attendant, the staff here are extremely well mannered, which is a refreshing change from the rudimentary chto vam (what do you want) you are treated to in some places in town.
Someone has to drive, so I opt for the recommended mandarin lemonade while my partner in crime has his usual Jameson and Coke to start, and we turn to the menus. Its a great in all senses of the word choice: salads, bruschettas, carpaccios, soups, pastas, risottos, pizzas, grills with options of meat, fish and seafood, as well as signature dishes and desserts. Im having trouble, so I take a break from lists of superb-sounding options and take in the décor as I sip on my toothsome neon-orange aperitivo.
Im loving the exposed brick anyone that sees the beauty in the simplicity of architecture is already a step ahead of the crowd. I also like how the three halls terrace, first and second dining spaces, are connected by open shelving within the walls displaying all manner of old school ornamentation: lanterns, old glass water bottles, large keys, and greenery. Mirrors line the walls, and stacks of wood, though functional, also add an atmosphere of homespun décor, and wait patiently to be used. And then theres the seating, which includes both plush armchairs as well as country-style wooden options, all done in shades of beige and pale pastels.

A1 Options
Vova the worlds best waiter, or at least according to his apron, makes his approach. All smiles, he makes a few recommendations: the vitello tonato is good, as is the creamy risotto with white mushrooms, and there is non-stop talk about our osso buco. While Im sure all of those things are very tasty, they dont speak to me. That said, there are a lot of other things that do: the warm octopus salad sounds wonderful, a crème of broccoli soup with shrimp could be the perfect option for a cool evening like tonight, not unlike the ricotta and spinach ravioli in crème sauce. Theres a four season pizza as well I have my eye on, and the grilled squid could make a great dish, among the any number of other selections I could choose from.
My husband doesnt seem to be having such difficulty: not unlike this publications publisher, who loves a good steak, it is looking more and more as though that might be in order tonight. One thing stands in the way what sauces have they got on offer? After posing the question, Vova smiles and rushes off to return with a couple of bottles: one is not recognised by either of us, while the other will be appreciated and estimated highly in the minds of many American steak connoisseurs A1. And so its decided.

Made In Italy
The ordering takes all of a few minutes, and we are left to chat amongst ourselves, and take a peek around. The venue positions itself as a family restaurant, and though there are a few families enjoying a TGIF evening (in fact a large family has gathered and is enjoying the privacy of one of the VIP rooms found here of which there are a few), there are also a couple of businessmen getting in last minute chats before the official close of the week, as well as a few couples who seem enamoured by nothing other than themselves.
Some of the nuances of Quanto Costa include Made In Italy products available for sale such as pesto, olives, pasta and a variety of sauces; a wine boutique in the back, which includes a cork fee of 100-150hrv should you opt for one of the offered varietals from France, Spain, Chile, Australia, New Zealand and of course Italy; and thanks to a little chat with another of the administrators, Yana, we learn that all ingredients where and when possible are brought in from Italy, including flour to make the homemade focaccia brought to every table.
Our starters have made an appearance: bruschetta with mozzarella, which has been melted onto five little baguette-style pieces of toasted bread, with chopped tomatoes and topped with soft and oh-so-silky Parma ham its delicious. As are the large, tender mussels in white wine sauce accompanied with two pieces of garlic toast for dipping. Every now and then I have dab at a bit of the sauce that finds its way down my chin yes they are that good.

Whoa Boy
With high marks for service and atmosphere, Quanto Costa is a triple threat thanks to the wonderful things coming out of their kitchen. The only thing I can fault them for on this visit however is their timing. Halfway into our starters, a tray is set up beside the table for serving which is actually a nice touch. But I am thoroughly disappointed when our second courses are promptly placed on it. Vova goes about cutting with white gloves, the ribeye in the midsection to demonstrate it has been prepared properly, and then sets it on the table. He returns shortly with young potatoes baked with sage and rosemary and my selection.
Because I couldnt decide, I had requested that he make the decision for me out of three different options, and what appears on the table, though far too quickly, looks fabulous: three little bacon-wrapped filets of salmon sitting on three fried potato slices all over a thick and delicious cream sauce.
I have to give credit where credit is due: Chef Riccardo Bioni is doing wonderful things with his staff, and though our mains cool slightly before we were ready for them, the steak is very well-seasoned, wonderfully tender, with delicious striations of fat adding to the flavour. My salmon too is precisely and petitely placed on the plate, with a heavenly sauce, making for a wonderful combination of flavours on a cold winters night.

How Much?
The real test, however, is whether we would return, and, in the venues inherent question: how much do you love Quanto Costa? The answer is yes, and a buono amount. There are a few things that need ironing out, but theyve got a fabulous foundation, and thats what counts.

Edible Inventory
Homemade Mandarin Lemonade (400ml) - 39hrv
Jameson (50ml) - 60hrv
Coca-Cola (250ml) - 22hrv
Bruschetta with Tomato, Mozzarella, Parma ham (150g) - 81hrv
Mussels in White Wine Sauce (400g) - 107hrv
Ribeye Steak (500g at 135hrv/100g) - 675hrv
Young Potatoes w/ Sage and Rosemary (200g) - 26hrv
Salmon Fillet w/ Speck and Cream Sauce (300/100g) - 162hrv
Cotes du Rhones (btl) - 350hrv
Grand Total 1,522hrv

Quanto Costa (Zhylyanska 87/30, M Vokzalna)
Hours: 12.00 24.00, 237-0128

We Want Your Review!
Have you been to Quanto Costa? Email us your review of the food, service and atmosphere. Include your name and well publish a sampling in Whats On!
Email editor@whatson-kiev.com to sound off.

by Lana Nicole

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  • A Night at the Opera
  • What We Got For You
  • A Lovely Evening Out

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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