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Jack & Chan: A Chop Above

Jack & Chan // 7 Inzhenernaya Ulitsa // Tel. +7 921 947 5040 // Open daily 10 a.m. to 12 a.m., Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m. // Dinner for two with alcohol 2,080 rubles ($63.15)

Published: August 21, 2013 (Issue # 1774)



  • The eclectic mix of furniture adds to the Asian street stall feel of the restaurant, making it instantly welcoming.
    Photo: Jack & Chan / Facebook

With tongue planted firmly in proverbial cheek, the newly opened Asian cafe Jack & Chan has more up its sleeve than a droll name and a hipster clientele.

Decorated to look like nothing more than a cross between an Asian apothecary and a street stall in any Southeast Asian city, the room is instantly welcoming and invites diners to linger. An eclectic mix of furniture, polished concrete floors and both high and low tables make the place seem bigger than it is. Deep-set windows let in copious amounts of light and two dining rooms offer purchase for both smokers and non-smokers alike.

With a brief menu presented on a clipboard, all of the offerings are remarkably affordable with no single dish costing more than 390 rubles ($11.82). The drinks menu is just as succinct, offering a choice of red, white or rose wine by the glass, a few beers, a single cocktail and a couple of stronger spirits.

From the selection of soups, salads and small dishes, the vegetable spring rolls (150 rubles, $4.55) and the duck salad with roast pumpkin (290 rubles, $8.79) beckoned. The salad itself, while lacking in originality from the pre-packaged lettuce mix the chef used, overcame that stumbling block with its jumble of medium-rare slices of duck breast, pumpkin, roasted red peppers and blistered cherry tomatoes scattered with toasted sesame seeds. Dressed in a complex, smoky sauce of cilantro, sesame oil and shards of pickled onion, the salad was refreshing and satisfying. The spring rolls arrived crisp and piping hot and the filling of wood-ear mushrooms, shredded cabbage, carrots and bean sprouts was so flavorful that it barely needed the sweet chili dipping sauce that accompanied it.

To wash down the appetizers, we chose the sole cocktail on the menu and a pint of the house J&C beer (160 rubles, $4.85). The Spritz cocktail (290 rubles, $8.80) was a deliciously refreshing concoction of Aperol and Prosecco that went down a bit too easily, while the beer was of the unfiltered wheat variety, brewed locally and available only at the restaurant.

Because the cocktail disappeared in just a few deep sips, a tall glass of homemade basil lemonade (80 rubles, $2.43) was chosen to accompany the main dishes. Milky green, like a low-quality emerald, it was herbaceous, tart and sweet all at the same time.

Once the mains arrived, however, all eyes were on the plates set before us. The salmon tempura (390 rubles, $11.82) was the most expensive dish on the menu and tasted every bit of it. Five pale slices of salmon with cool, deep coral pink centers were battered in the lightest tempura coating and accompanied by a mound of thick, cola-colored glass noodles sprinkled with sliced mushrooms. The fish was perfectly fresh and elegant. The dipping sauce, however, was too overpowering, being simply a bowl of soy sauce rather than a traditional tempura sauce. As a result it was ignored to let the fish shine.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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