Saturday, March 3, 2012

Line Brew

Kenessary Street is one of the bigger streets in the old downtown; it crosses Respublika, which is like the Main Street of the old downtown.

If you're driving down Kenessary Street, you may pass by a building that looks a bit like a castle. This is Line Brew, an upscale restaurant. I've heard for a while that it's really nice, so a few weeks ago a friend and I decided to try it out.

In the entrance area, where the coat-check is, there was a knight-in-shining-armor suit. The coat-check lady was a plump lady with an extremely low-cut blouse. I quickly noticed that all the female staff wore extremely low-cut blouses (for the wait staff, this seemed to be part of the uniform--for the others, maybe a dress code?)

There was one small table available; we were told that usually it's best to make reservations. There is an upstairs and a downstairs; we were downstairs, at a small wooden table, near the bar and an open fire where shashlyk (and perhaps other food) was being cooked. (Shashlyk is like kebab).

My friend had a sore throat, and had earlier mused that she'd like some mulled wine, which she wasn't even sure if we could find in Astana. She asked, and Line Brew does have mulled wine, and it was very delicious, and not until the bill came out did we realize the price--2500 Tenge per glass! ($17!)

The menu items were quite expensive, and we settled on sharing a salad and beef fondue. The salad was good, although its simplicity surprised my Kazakh friend--lettuce, a oil-like dressing, and parmesan cheese. I've only had fondue once in my life, and that was about 15 years ago, so I can't quite compare. It was good, although it'd be nice to have more for your main course than just meat. I dropped my fondue fork onto my lap and burned myself picking it up.

We then shared a divinely delicious tiramisu for dessert while my friend drank tea and I had a wheat beer that was on draft, and which wasn't very good. Someone had recommended their dark beer, I'd wager that they do have good beer and I'd just ordered the cheapest one. I guessed that Line Brew is trying to be Belgian, based on the castle and decor, the food, the beer, and a sign that was in French. (One of the main beers that they serve, Leffe, is Belgian.)

Our bill totaled $100--wow! I think the fancy Chinese restaurant was cheaper! And this place was full--even people with kids were there. I don't think I'm ever taking Sophia there, she won't appreciate the food enough for me to spend that much money on her.

For most of the time, not-too-loud music played, and since my friend was going hoarse, we could manage a decent conversation if I leaned in close to her. But a live band was there, and when they played, we didn't even try to talk. I don't understand why restaurants and bars think it's cool to have loud music playing, so that their customers can't hold conversations.

It was a good evening, and definitely a place worth going back to--as long as you're prepared to spend the money!

No comments:

Post a Comment