This staunch Russian restaurant is the latest challenger to 1933’s singular ability to repel diners. But where huge Chinese ballrooms and racing car themes have failed, Red Square actually manages to pull off a tasty, affordable and authentic menu.
With globally recognized Russian and Ukrainian fare from borscht (RMB18) to potato pancakes (RMB20), the menu has plenty to choose from. Each comes as a small dish so there’s good reason to explore the lesser known items, especially if you can decipher the slightly obscure descriptions. The salad Olivier (RMB28) is a solid rendition of the mound of vegetables and mayonnaise otherwise known as a Russian salad. Of the soups, the less common rice Kharcho (RMB28) stands out; its hearty base with tender chunks of lamb make it perfect for winter.
Golubtsy (RMB32), meat and rice wrapped in cabbage, is a mainstay of Russian comfort food. Here though, they are a victim of Chinese produce. They’re a little bland and need lashings of Smetana sauce. The slightly dry chicken Kyev (RMB38) runs into similar problems.
Red Square also caters for the high-flyers. Their red caviar bliny (RMB68) are the real Russian deal, large pancakes served with incredibly salty caviar. They’re definitely an acquired taste; Western canapé renditions are a much lighter affair and we can see why.
In the evenings there are live performances, so expect Cossack dancing and Russian techno—assuming they have enough people fill their huge dining room. 1933 may be too far from the former French Concession to be trendy and a little too try-hard to win over discerning Bund diners, but it’s worth bucking the trend and heading over if you’re looking for an eastern-European experience.
Our rating: 3/5
What: Red Square
Where: Rm. 308, 1/F, 1933 Building, 10 Shajing Lu 沙径路10号1933老场坊1号楼308室
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