пир о.г.и – the alternative hang out

6 Mar

Over an expiring Sunday evening loomed the brink of a new week. 2 victims of over socialising, consecutive hangovers in tow, struggled on against the elements towards the Grail of Over-indulgence and Gluttony.

I happened upon this bar during a google search for “cheapest beer in Moscow” (classy, I am sure you will agree). An unnamed cybernaut reviewed it as a cool and alternative place with, as you will have guessed, well priced brews. Unfortunately, yet not unexpectedly, the whole website was in Cyril’s language so I honed in on the two main words you need to know when hang out hunting in Moscow “пиво” (beer) and “меню” (menu). Beverages and repasts appearing* to be well priced, пир о.г.и made The Potato List (unpublished as of yet).  The catch, because there is always a catch, I had no idea where to find the elusive Projekt OGI. And one fine day, my friend Nikolai Numper, intermediate Muscovite, suggests a laid back place with a good menu and cheap beer – not being one to decline an invitation, especially when exempt of any potential responsibility and embarrassment linked to the disastrous dining plan, I agree . ..

пир о.г.и is a cosy ground floor café/bar reminiscent of a Parisian semi underground hang out in the 90’s, when smoking was Europe’s favourite habit, after war and bad haircuts… However, forewarned against the smoking area and accompanying a person with less dirty habits that myself, I gracefully accept to sit in the non smoking area. The general attire pleases me. Understated and laid back, most small and simple wooden tables with discreet chequered table clothes are occupied by an array of hung over and non alcoholic friends who definitely do not care if you had a shower that day and do not bat an eyelid when you talk English. It does have the added bonus of having seats and not benches like many places, but I also reckon this is the reason the tables are so small, which isn’t a problem until they bring you out the two courses you ordered at the same time.

The menu is well priced, you can even pick up soup & main course (pot luck) & drink for 195r. A decent pint of house brew  (Домашнее светлое/нефильтрованное) is only 75r. Simple main courses like a Russian savoury pie (пироги, you got to love a good pun in Russian) with salad are 119r. The menu also offers a wide range of more complex culinary attempts which I cannot yet comment on as yet as I have yet to live through my first pay day here. But, as the international potato boasts both Irish and French heritage, we have been authorised to have an opinion on what we have eaten. It may not be the pinnacle of excellence of Moscow gastronomy but the serving are reasonable (as to discourage morbid obesity) and the food is good. The hardest thing is to figure out how to eat 2 hot courses (soup and main) while they are still hot, as they are generally served at the same time.

The staff, in all honesty, are probably the pillars on which uphold the reputation of Moscow’s famous customer service. One or 2 of them speak English, not that it matters, as one side of the menu is all in English so you can always get away with pointing and nodding.  Be ready to wait a couple of minutes before being seated, they will come back to you every 2 minutes until you order and then you won’t see them again until about 20 minutes  after you have decided you want the bill. When you eventually ask for the bill, you will wait at least another 15 minutes, but this is what пир о.г.и is all about. It is a place to chill out, relax and let time float on with the cigarette smoke, you are going nowhere fast, neither are the staff.

Nikolai’s opinion

(bearing in mind, he hangs out there about 3 times a week)

“ok pirogy……[16:53:25]

service = dodgey

food =ok

company= questionable

price = cheap”

Check it out

пир о.г.и is a stone throw away from Kitai Gorod and Lubyanka. It lies in the street that continues on from the end of мясницкaя ulitsa (Myasnitskaya) (furthest from Chistie Prudy metro). You will recognise it by its black and red sign. Follow this link to the map: http://www.ogipirogi.ru/maroseika.html

and this link to the main website: http://www.ogipirogi.ru/

*Never trust what you read if you know less than 50 words of the local dialect

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