Ivan the Kozak is an odd little gem found just below Hollywood Rd., next to the escalators. You simply can’t miss the place. Even though you have to cut down an alley, the Russian statue out front guarding the menu is anything but hidden. The place offers reasonable prices for their delicious, traditional Russian & Ukrainian food. They also boast the largest selection of plain and flavored vodkas from Russia & the Ukraine.
Although the table we were brought to was only set up for two, they kindly accommodated me with a small, hard wooden stool to sit on. The manager apologized for the inconvenience and said for being so understanding, he was going to give our table shots on the house. Soon after he led us back to the front of the restaurant and into the Vodka Ice Room. Although I’m not a huge fan of vodka myself, I was rather impressed that in such hot and humid conditions that Hong Kong offers its occupants that a restaurant would dedicate an entire walk-in refrigerator to storing a few shelves of vodka. This and the fact that they had a spot set up for pictures in the Vodka Ice Room are what really made this little gem of a restaurant, an odd one.
I have to give it to Ivan the Kozak for their smooth selection of vodkas. They might, and I repeat might, have changed my mind about drinking vodka. After our visit to the Ice Room we began to enjoy our meal starting with Deruni Minskie, which is basically fried potato cakes served with sour cream. They were quite delicious, not to crisp, not soggy, and seasoned to perfection. Next we had the Zakuska Po-Suzdalsky which is ox tongue baked in white wine and cheese and served in a hot pot with a baked pastry cover. The sauce was absolutely amazing, the flavor combinations were incredible. The tongue was also perfectly prepared, extremely tender and flavorful.
My main course was Utka Zaletnaya (Baked duck with apples, potatoes, and mushrooms). The duck was slightly overcooked for my taste but was still juicy, and tender. The apples and mushrooms led to a unique yet tasty flavor combination.
For anyone tired of the typical selection of restaurants found in Hong Kong I highly suggest making your way to Ivan the Kozak. With their traditional food, decor, and live music, Ivan the Kozak was a wonderful dining experience.