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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 EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s 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!

A Serving of Americana

Like many elements of American culture, the “diner” has been exported across the globe. In the centre of Kyiv, caf?-diner Zheltok (yolk in English) has taken the concept, from the d?cor – with characteristic chrome accents, to the food – from hot dogs to hamburgers and infused it with a few Eastern European twists. It’s a fusion that works and elevates this place beyond the typical “greasy-spoon”.

Located opposite Taras Shevchenko Park, at the intersection of Lva Tolstoho and Volodymyrska streets, Zheltok occupies a prime position in the central city dining landscape, yet as my friend Sonya and I will discover it is without the premium prices. Zheltok is popular; you can see it as soon as you walk through the door. It’s Monday, not the most-popular day of the week for eating out, yet there is barely a spare table – fortunately there is one for us. We are seated beside a window allowing us to take in the view both inside and out. The interior colours follow on from the “yolk” name, eggshell and yellow are the dominant pallet, and that offsets the diner theme, exposed brick and timber, the aforementioned chrome, neon sign, gumball machine, filter coffee machines...then there’s the staff uniform – all pastel. It gives the overall effect of being in an episode of Happy Days. After a feast for the eyes it’s time to think of our stomachs.

The Breakfast Club
While it might not run 24 hours like its American counterparts, Zheltok is open for the typical American-style breakfast complete with “bottomless coffee” from 08.30. Eggs, naturally, dominate and for the Anglophiles, full English is also available. The lunch menu is packed with burgers, hot-dogs and fries, yet in a nod to the fact we are in Europe – a personal favourite of mine, French onion soup (65hrv) is also there. But we’re not here for brekkie or lunch, so it’s time to study the fare on offer by evening.
Our server, Barbara, is on hand to offer her advice running through the specials and the other offers, but we’re keen to take our time so instead order a bottle of Lambrusco Bianco d’Ell Emilia wine which Barbara returns with in short order. Halfway through the first glass and we are ready. As much as I love Ukrainian soups, I must say (especially in winter) there are times I crave a hearty Western-style cr?me soup and I am immediately sold on the potato cr?me soup with bacon. Great minds think alike and Sonya is also wanting to start with a soup, which she orders from the special “New Yorker” menu, an alternative menu to the standard with dishes that are slightly more avant garde. She wants the tomato-vegetable cr?me soup with cherry tomatoes and has already settled on her next course from the same menu – the ramen burger. Yes it is how it sounds – instead of a bun, the burger is sandwiched between cakes of ramen noodles. Since she has fired ahead and ordered her main I decide to do likewise, with a beef kare steak. Maybe this is where we run into problems by ordering the full meal at once, or maybe Barbara is too eager to please...

Log Jam
To clarify, the soups (with a side order of bread) are to be bookended by salads – a warm salad with fried cheese and porcini for myself and a Sicilian salad with Parma and mozzarella for Sonya – and our mains. You can guess what happens next. We are on our second glass of wine when Barbara arrives with the salads – so far so good, she places them in front of us and takes her leave. The mushrooms in mine have a melt-in-the-mouth quality and overall it is a salad that is strong on flavour. Sonya’s salad is served with an imaginative twist – each piece of Parma ham is skewered with a pretzel stick. Here’s the rub, we are only maybe three to four mouthfuls into our salads when the soups arrive.
It reminds me of that Soviet cafeteria-style dining you find here, where you select all courses at once, find a seat, and wolf all of it down before it gets cold. I did speed eating contests as a student, and maybe it’s old-age, but these days I find being force-fed in double quick time is more likely to bring heartburn than dining satisfaction. So I decide to take my time, but the food train is unstoppable – in very short time all three courses are on our table in front of us. It’s the only gripe to be fair; neither of us can fault the food. And we decide to make the most of the banquet now in front of us by ordering a second bottle of wine.

Clearing The Jam
My potato soup is hearty and (see qualifier about Ukrainian soup above) has a sense of nostalgia about it that Ukrainian soups don’t give me – that kind of “just like mum would make feel”. Oh...heartburn and nostalgia, maybe it’s a good thing this magazine is a taking a little break, by the time we are back hopefully Ukraine will be as settled as my stomach. Sonya also appreciates her tomato variant, but to me it’s definitely the Ukrainian take (see nostalgia above). In fact, of all the dishes, for me the humble potato soup was the highlight. However, my beef kare is also great, it’s clearly a quality cut and it is cooked to perfection, and to be honest any initial chagrin at the rapid fire delivery has been forgiven and forgotten. When it comes to Sonya’s main, well it is truly different. She admits it’s as unique to the taste as it is in appearance, tasty but slightly awkward to eat. Given our constant grazing experience, dessert is off the agenda for both of us, so we finish our wine and bid Barbara farewell.
All-in-all Zheltok, you deserve to be popular, it is good quality food at attractive prices – learn to serve it at a trickle rather than a tsunami and you’re on to a winning formula.

Edible Inventory
Warm Salad with Fried Cheese and Porcini (170g) - 65hrv
Sicilian Salad with Parma and Mozzarella (165g) - 65hrv
Bread Rolls (?2) - 10hrv
Potato Cr?me Soup with Bacon (300g) - 35hrv
Tomato-vegetable Cr?me Soup with Cherry Tomatoes (300g) - 40hrv
Beef Kare Steak (470g) - 95hrv
Ramen Burger (340g) - 60hrv
Lambrusco Bianco d’Ell Emilia (750ml) ?2 - 150hrv

Grand Total 515hrv 

Zheltok (Lva Tolstoho 11 M Lva Tolstoho)
Hours: 08.30?–?00.00, 

We Want Your Review!
Have you been to Zheltok? Email us your review of the food, service and atmosphere. Include your name and we’ll publish a sampling in What’s On!
Email to sound off.

by Jared Morgan

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Ukraine Truth
Rights We Didn’t 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 don’t 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 – children’s 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. What’s 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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