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3 Jan 2014

"Mystery guest" in the Golden Scallop



La Crete d'or («The Golden Scallop" in English or "Zolotoy Grebeshok" in Russian)" is a quite famous French restaurant located in the central area of Minsk just besides Hotel Europa. Prices are really high and the place is one of the poshest in the Belarusian capital. Onliner's "mystery guest" went to the restaurant to find out what can we get for 918 thousand Belarusian rubbles and how good is it.

Saturday's summer evening. It's a good time to go out with a "secret mission" and  have a  dinner at La Crete d'or («The Golden Scallop") - the only gourmet French cuisine in Belarus (as it is stated in the advertisement). We trust and hope again. Not very long time ago were we in France, it's high time to refresh our memories!


The restaurant is located in the city center, on Lenin Street, 3, as stated by the iridescent golden sticker on the street plate. The sign itself is very modest and hardly noticeable. Not keeping in mind to visit the place it is easy to just pass by. The exterior outside in "the best" traditions of modern Belarusian architectural thought: plastic, glazed windows, self-adhesive film. It would be advisable for the architect to visit Paris or Lyon to learn design.





There is no own parking. The car was parked at city hall on a paid parking that was not a problem despite we are in the centre of the capital.

A very polite waiter offered us a table near the window. Although there were no joy! It was possible to look only at electric garlands, table lamps and curtains. An interior was worthy the exterior - wild eclecticism. Foam moldings adjacent to plaster reliefs of the Soviet period. On the ceiling - Christmas balls! A pianist played music of Sinatra.




The very courteous waiter brought a menu - the design of which was unquestionable, everything was fine, obviously was not made by the architect. Although there were too many points in the menu. Usually average French restaurants offer 2-3 dishes in each section to ensure that products are available and cooked fresh.

Making order: bottled water, beef carpaccio, pumpkin cream soup, tuna salad with shrimp, beef steak, cake "Napoleon", coffee.


A fresh was served. Great juice! It is freshly squeezed: beets, carrots, cucumbers, celery. The right temperature. Enjoyable.


With cocktails there was a problem. The bar was empty, the only drink that can be expected was Cuba Libre. We were not American soldiery, we do not drink rum with Coke. Politely refused. We were in a French restaurant! Learning the wine list. Following the proposal of super polite waiter we ordered a glass of Poggio Bianco. Tuscany is known for its excellent wines. We had high expectations.

The first sip made us doubt in freshness of the wine. We asked:

- When was the wine opened?
- 24 hours ago!
- No! - we were indignant. - It was exposed to air for a long time!
- No, no! It was kept in an evacuated bottle, - continued unflappable waiter. - Here it is! Ttry this! It's just that wine! It is worth the money.

Demonstrating a bottle, he poured into new glass extra 50 grams, which later was included in the final bill. Applause!.. for waiter's artistry and patience. The only minus was a lie. The extra wine in the bill was on his conscience... 150 ordered grams plus extra 50.

- Yes, it is the same wine, which obviously contacted with the air not only one day, - we concluded.



Here the discussion stopped. The pianist got tired to play jazz and played a disk with an old American rock...

The evening goes on, and the salads was served with bread basket and assorted butter  all pieces of which were included in the bill. The tradition of soviet style caterers is immortal.


A carpaccio is served. It is tasteless, dryish beef which is normal for Minsk restaurants. However, it's worthy to notice that the way of the decoration is very typical for the central part of France. A cook was trained well and obviously experienced.


Tuna salad with shrimps was eaten. It seemed to have all right the notes, but the music was not played.



Again pleasant in all respects and very helpful waiter served main dishes.

Voila, cream-soup! A bouquet of riddles and assumptions! No blame, but suppose that there were involved precooked mashed pumpkin and a little cook's imagination. At least similar in taste baby food we bay in a jar with a picture of toddler - a little tasteless, almost neutral. Again, this is only a guess. Note that the result does not match that that you can prepare in the season of the Belarusian pumpkin or try in a provincial French restaurant. The time required for preparation of the dish should be clearly more than the time within the dish appeared at our table.


The steak turned out rather medium well (we ordered medium rare). Excessive frying did not spoil the taste of the meat and a structure was preserved. A good sauce perfectly complemented the dish. Garnish (potatoes three and six asparagus sprouts) obviously finished its way to the stomach. Cooked in a steamer they were rather dry and not mild.




The pianist, tired and slightly confused, played well-known Happy Birthday to You. At the next to us table the company celebrated a birthday...

It was time for coffee and dessert "Napoleon." Neither was disappointing. The coffee was good. "Napoleon" was edible. A butter plus a little of sugar was in due balance. Endorse and recommend! Two served packs of sugar which were not used got in the bill also as it was in an old Belarusian tradition.




It is time to visit the restroom. Clean, rich. Designer and cleaner are experts in their work. There is no eclectic and retro - harmonious and pleasing to the eyes.

A small saving on toilet paper.




Pianist seemed finally got tired and wandered behind the bar, where was the CD- player. We left the French restaurant with accompaniment of Presley, melodies of North America looked traditional for the place. However,  in Paris at this time on 89,9 FM was radio TSF Jazz.



Our bill (in BYR):
Wine Poggio (× 4) - 132, 000
Water "Aqua Pan" - 55, 000
Beef carpaccio - 85, 000
Coffee - 20, 000
Butter - 13, 000
Cake "Napoleon" - 59, 000
Tuna Salad - 138, 000
Sugar (× 2) - 1, 000
Juice "Stimulus" - 39,000
Beef steak - 264, 000
Cream-soup of Pumpkin - 91, 000
French roll - 4, 000
Italian bread (× 0,5) - 7, 750
Garlic bread - 9, 500

Total - 918, 250







Onliner.by

Follow discussion about the restaurant  La Crete d'or on our forum in the thread "Restaurant La Crete d'or"

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