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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!


Roman goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, Venus is said to have been born from sea foam, the restaurant Pena (foam) seems to have been created likewise it is hugely sea-themed from its ship-like interior to service and cuisine, rich in fish and seafood. One of the oldest Kozyrna Karta restaurants and its former flagship (in every sense of the word), Pena still maintains its style and individuality while offering a wide variety of trendy Mediterranean, Japanese and fusion meals, which are delicate in taste and ephemeral like...foam.

Many years have passed since I last dined at Pena, therefore I am really intrigued to see what has changed from what I remember. So my friend Yevhen and I decide to spend a Thursday evening at the restaurant. Once we cross the threshold, we feel like we are cruising on the ocean, far, far from land.

All Aboard
The whole space is designed like a big ship, starting from the lobby which is smartly yet unobtrusively decorated with a number of authentic old-fashioned equipment and interior elements taken from a real German boat (after it was disassembled) a barometer, clock, liquid compass, lantern, bell, even a telephone from the engine room. Strikingly, all the tools actually work...
The restaurant has five sections; each of them with its own name Geography is a cosy room embellished with globe-styled shelves boastings souvenirs from around the world; Pirates banquet hall features a round-table room accommodating six to 10 people who want to talk and dine in a relaxed atmosphere; theres a terrace that is probably best kept for the summer months; a Japanese room which is the smallest, but has a very intimate atmosphere and is designed for a company of up to five people; and the central and largest White Hall, where we cast anchor and take a seat. The hall gives the impression of being in the hull of an overturned boat, as, looking up, we see a ship deck instead of ceiling. Portholes, soft lighting, subdued lounge music and creamy white colours further enhance our seafaring impression, which whets our appetite for new gourmet experiences.

For Starters
Being a fish gourmet, I am having trouble deciding which dish I will take when reading through the wealth of options listed on the menu, including oysters, ravioli with scallops, seafood sauté or risotto al nero di sepia. Relying on my choice, my friend Yevhen patiently waits for me to make up my mind. I especially want to try the Pena specialties, so, eventually the server and I make a compromise I take the Pena-style salad with seafood (scallops, prawns, squid and octopus), vinaigrette sauce and avocado paste. Yevhen is happy to have the fried tuna and anchovies salad.
Next comes what I love about above-average restaurants a classy show, which testifies to the quality of service of the place, and makes me anticipate an equally quality dining experience. Before our salads are served, the waiter brings us hot napkins to refresh our hands and faces, followed by the chefs compliments fresh bread with a homemade green paste consisting of butter, garlic, black volcanic salt and green vegetables. The bread and butter are good to dull the edge off our hunger, without spoiling our appetite.
Our starters arrive pretty soon after and the dishes do not disappoint. The seafood in my Pena-salad is soft, sprinkled with sauce traditional to this kind of dish. At first sight and bite, it is nothing extraordinary, yet everything is well done and balanced. Meanwhile, Yevhen enjoys his salad with Tuna fish, which is really juicy and tasteful, serving as a great starter.

On Course For The Main Course
For main courses I again go for a compromise a mix of just a good dish and a house specialty. Thus, I end up with the Chilean branzino with Chardonnay sauce, whereas Yevhen, following my wise advice, and takes the grand risotto. Branzino has many names, including European sea bass. Yet, call it whatever you like, I love this fish and always try it in different restaurants across Europe. That is why I am eager to find out how they prepare it in Pena. Again I am not disappointed. Firstly, I like the elegant way the food (fish, sauce, garnish salad) is arranged on the plate this is another benefit provided by higher-end restaurants. The Chardonnay sauce is contained separately in a little phial to let people taste the sea bass with and without additional flavour.
However, I am much more impressed with the dish served to Yevhen the grand risotto with cod and foie gras. It is surely our favourite of the night. Unanimously Yevhen and I give our best marks to the harmonious blend of two quite opposite things fish and meat (goose liver) mixed with a flavoured rice, which appeals to us (or rather our stomachs) the most. Its not for nothing it is considered Penas specialty! We would recommend it as a must for anyone attending the restaurant. Anyway, although I am repeating myself, I can say there is one word that can be applied to all Pena dishes and that word is light.

After enjoying not overly large portions, we still have some room for desserts. Here we order a pot of green tea and an assortment of homemade sorbets and ice creams. Knowing everything about tea, my friend Yevhen always complains that it is impossible to find a place in Kyiv where you can drink quality tea. There are many reasons for this. Tea apparently loses flavour when exported from China or India; therefore really good teas are very expensive. Secondly, Ukrainians have not yet developed a culture of drinking tea. So, even in posh restaurants, you do not have the chance to enjoy proper tea.
Ours is not so bad, after all, yet far from ideal. But the homemade vanilla and chocolate ice cream and apricot and raspberry sorbet are delicious, making for a refreshing and even possessing a digestive effect. The palate-tantalising vanilla ice cream with a mint sprig is the perfect finishing touch to the gourmet dinner. Still, it follows the restaurant concept it is light and soft like foam...

Aftertaste History In Facts And Figures
With dinner over, we need some food for thought. Lets talk a bit about Penas history. It was opened back in 2002 when there were few fabulous restaurants downtown. Currently it can accommodate up to 100 people, and offer them 120 various dishes a la carte. Now and then the menu is enhanced with new trendy dishes, developed by Chef Yevhen Tishko. He boasts 20-years experience, and has been with Pena for one-and-a-half of those years. In addition, he was listed among the 25 top Ukrainian chefs, according to Focus magazine in 2012. It proves this guy knows a thing or two about cooking. He says that he is able to meet the requests of any client, preparing a dish exactly the way he/she wants. It seems to be true, as the menu contains a wide choice of fish from barracuda to cuttlefish cooked as you wish, grilled, roasted, boiled, whatever. Next time you attend the restaurant, try this option!
Pena has a loyal clientele for example, the Kuzmins family have been dining at Pena since it first opened. Legend has it when Chef Tishko comes up with a new dish, they are the first people to try it. First or last it does not matter when it comes to the high gastronomy served by Pena; just take your time to savour every bit of its sea-themed dishes. Bon appetit and bon voyage!

Edible Inventory
Pena-style Salad with Seafood (250g) - 297hrv
Fried Tuna and Anchovy Salad (230g) - 179hrv
Chilean Branzino with Chardonnay Sauce (270g) - 370hrv
Grand Risotto with Cod and Foie Gras (250g) - 439hrv
Two Scoops Homemade Sorbet (100g) - 62hrv
Two Scoops Homemade Ice Cream (100g) - 62hrv
Green Tea (400ml) - 70hrv

Grand Total 1,479hrv

Pena Restaurant (Yaroslaviv Val 30/18, M Zoloti Vorota)
Hours: 12.00 24.00, 234-17-01

We Want Your Review!
Have you been to Pena? 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 Anna Azarova

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Comments (1)
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Benjaa | 05.04.2014 13:50

that we have no desire for dnoioatimn. We actually acknowledge that many people won\'t want to hear our message, and we respect that. I think something in her comment is also important that the temples that we are building are for our people who live in various countries. It brings something important to us closer to Mormons around the world; temples are an essential part of our worship. Another something I wanted to point out is that we do this even in countries where Christianity already exists because our purpose isn\'t just about converting people to Christianity in general. The message we share is for Christians, too.I, too, am sorry that you had a negative experience with the temple building process. I hope you can help people try to understand that we aren\'t trying to dominate anyone or force our religion on anyone, just to share with those who want to hear, and support those who have chosen this path for their lives. ~Michelle, MW Editor

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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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