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Restaurant Review

Café Champion
 Len Nebons

Café Champion is an excellent Azeri restaurant located near metro novaslobodskaya, between the ING bank Building and the VimpelCom/Beeline buildings. It hosts one of the best “Shaslishniks” in Moscow, and at low prices.

The shasliks are fantastic, as are the soups (120-220 rubles) and appetizers (30-200 rubles). For soups we recommend the spicy kharcho for 150 rubles. Also try the Dushbara, mini pilmenyi in broth, add vinegar to taste (160 rubles). The salads are standard (180-250 rubles), but keep to the ones without mayonnaise, as they are loaded. The best appetizers are stuffed grape leaves, called dolma, with a milky garlic sauce, lots of fresh garlic (220 rubles). The Kutabas are great, and come with greens, cheese or meat, these are thin pancakes stuffed and folded, fried in oil (70, 80, and 90 Rubles).

Main dishes are grilled on an open charcoal fire, which you can smell as you come near the café. Chicken shashlik is great, but make sure it is the breast (180 rubles). Lamb chops are fantastic, with a great spice, little fat (170 rubles). The prices range from 170-350 rubles per portion. Dishes come with Tajiki sauce and onions (no charge!). Home style potatoes are great, well fried with onions (100 rubles). A favorite Azeri dish is Kehgal, Lamb on thin pita for 200 Rubles. The sturgeon is well cooked and spiced up a bit.

Soft drinks come in half liter bottles and range from 50-100 rubles. Richelieu mineral water is 60 rubles for a half liter. Aqua Mineral is 50 rubles. Desserts are standard Russian, so don’t bother. BUT, the Azeri grass tea is excellent, for 120 rubles, big pot.

The wines are from Azerbaijan, Italy, Spain and Chile and range from 550- 1200 rubles per bottle, some of the best prices in Moscow. Azeri wines are 1000 rubles for a liter and excellent. Vodkas are 350-1500 rubles per bottle (500 grams), try the Azeri vodka called Kezyer for 750, it is fruit based. Stella beer is 120 rubles for a half liter.

Champion has 3 separate rooms, not all connected from inside. The front room has 10 tables of 4-6. It is the only room with bathroom access. The 2 back rooms have a bathroom outside, across the small parking lot.

Waiters try hard, but really have little experience and most don’t speak English. Managers are friendly. The crowd is one which likes good food and good value. DUMA members, and Biznesmeni, with their black big cars out front being a normal sight. Smoking is allowed anywhere, all tables.

Café Champion has been around for 12 years and does not advertise, but is always quite full. Business lunch get you a 15% off the menu prices. The menu is only in Russian. So bring a Russian reader! All food is fresh from the farm.

Café Champion
14 Krasnaproletarskaya Ulitsa

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