#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The restaurant’s name – Kavkaz (Caucasus) – did not appear by chance: the southern cuisine was accomplished by the interior in the national style. As an element of Caucasian life – a handmade felt carpet and gray felt panels, a multi-colored stained-glass window depicting highlanders and mountaineers on the wall.
Five years after the opening, the restaurant, one might say, received dual citizenship: Caucasian and Scandinavian. In the late 1970s, the first foreign specialists arrived in Norilsk to build the Nadezhda metallurgical plant: Swedes and Finns. The guests were accommodated at Talnahskaya street, 68, where they opened a branch of the Norilsk hotel – a corps for foreign specialists. And across the road, in the Kavkaz bar, a canteen was organized for them, where Russians were not allowed.
True, after a while, many foreigners got the hang of cooking and eating at home. As a result, in order for the restaurant to hit its target, all citizens were welcomed. The Finns continued to drop in at the Kavkaz, but preferred to sit in the bar all the time. It happened that foreigners were gathered around the restaurant in snowdrifts.
The guests were unpretentious in food, they did not require frills. Therefore, the menu was not specially altered for the Finns. Specialties revealed a kaleidoscope of Caucasian cuisine. For a cold appetizer was satsivi – chicken in walnut sauce. The chanahi dish, mutton stewed in an earthenware pot with vegetables, was highly respected: it was a starter and a second course at once.
And the Kavkaz’s bar had its own signature cocktails: strong Highlander and light ladies’ Kunash.
In previous issues of the History Spot photo project we talked about the first restaurant that was opened in Norilsk, when the city was still a camp.
Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive