Baku Caspian Restaurant & Cafe
Time Out Says
It was no different at Baku Caspian, which sits across the road from the grandiose Mercato Mall. My date and I were greeted on the front steps and led up a winding staircase. I half expected to find a family sat watching TV in their front room, but was instead greeted by a haphazard collection of tables, chairs, and faux-leather sofas. There was a TV (screening a Lebanese talent contest), though whether this was a remnant of the previous residents I’ll never know.
Baku Caspian originally came to my attention because it serves Azerbaijani cuisine; a rarity in an area overflowing with Iranian and Lebanese options. The menu didn’t disappoint, featuring a generous selection of central Asian and Eastern Bloc specialities such as bug˘ulama (slow-cooked lamb), plov (seasoned broth and rice) and various kebabs. We started with a meaty kittya soup, and kutab pancake filled with ground lamb and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. The latter would have been delicious had it been served warm; unfortunately it was cool, limp and rather disappointing. The kittya soup, featuring two coarse meatballs, boiled potatoes and chickpeas, should have been wholesome and hearty, but turned out to be dull and flavourless – a liberal sprinkle of salt could have easily brought the dish to life.
The mains arrived before we’d even finished our starters, as if to compensate for their dullness. The portions of bug˘ulama, served with spinach, and the sausage-shaped chicken kievs were generous, but were by no means satisfying. I put this down to the lack of flavour – I appreciate that this kind of food isn’t meant to sing with spices, though the quality of the ingredients and the lackadaisical manner in which they’d been prepared warranted little merit.
My date helpfully pointed out that the Baku Caspian appeared to be more geared to coffee drinkers and shisha smokers (of which there were many), but as far as being an ambassador of Azerbaijani cuisine was concerned, the restaurant puts in a poor showing.
The bill (for two)
1x Kittya soup Dhs49
1x Kutab pancake Dhs15
1x Bug˘ulama Dhs49
1x Chicken kiev Dhs50
1x Orange juice Dhs20
1x Mint and lemon Dhs20
Total (excluding service) Dhs203
By Oliver Robinson | 13 Sep 2011
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