Thursday, September 15, 2005

Russian Hospitality

I’m not one of the types to ramble on and on about my utterly boring life, but I think this incident really does deserve a mention.

After a having a hearty dinner consisting of stewed beef and yoghurt (yes, in the same plate) at Far East Plaza, Camillus, Patrick and I headed down to Nadezhda Russian Restaurant along Arab Street for supper. Yes, the obsession with food is a much cherished characteristic of the Singaporean culture.

We weren’t planning on anything heavy. I was just craving for a glass of that refreshing Russian beverage, kvas. After all, we just had dinner a half hour ago and I’m no glutton. All we ordered later on were just two glasses of kvas and a plate of potato pancakes with sour cream (which we all shared). The waiter was surprised we ordered so little. The other patrons were ordering plate after plate of dumplings and shashlik (skewered meat).

Later, the manager, a homely Belarusian lady with an affable character, came up to our table and asked us about the food (like all good restaurant managers do) and of course asked if we would like some more to eat. She told us that the restaurant enjoyed good business today and would give us one free dish. Later, that treat was increased to three dishes. We ended up having more than we had originally planned for. Bear in mind I’m not talking about cold leftovers – we had piping hot borsch (beetroot soup), pork dumplings and potato pancakes. Camillus repeatedly expressed his guilt over our receiving of dishes. I shared his sentiments, but never put them into words. We repeatedly thanked the manager before we left.

How many do you know would do something like this today? I have only encountered one such incident so far in all my 17+ years of life. I have spent much time with Russians (and Russian-speaking people) and this is the first time one has been so hospitable. What makes this even more special is that I have not met her on any previous occasion. Her generous act reminds me that there are still people today who are gracious and hospitable.

Nadezhda Russian Restaurant is located along Arab Street, opposite Golden Landmark Hotel. Nearest MRT station: Bugis. You can't miss it.

On another note, she asked me to return to the restaurant soon – she’d introduce teenage Russian girls to me. =)


Post a Comment

<< Home