Archive for March 25th, 2009

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The Sherlock Holmes Bar/Restaurant – Odessa

March 25, 2009

What can I say……when I moved to Odessa from Moscow and being somewhat of a Sherlock Holmes fan….the last thing I expected to find was a bar called the Sherlock Holmes……and yes I did bring the Basil Rathbone DVD Box-Set when I came………only to find a particularly good Russian made Sherlock Holmes series on TV here!!

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Anyway, the Sherlock Holmes bar is in the City Centre and can be found…….with a little detection work, “naturally, my Dear Watson”….at Polskiy Spuskiy.

What?……No, no, no…..according to Sir Author Conan Doyle, who should know…..as he wrote the books…..our beloved Sherlock was indeed in Odessa…….TWICE!!

What do you mean “bollocks”?

It’s true!……Yes is bloody is!!!

If you read “A Study In Scarlet” then Holmes refers to Odessa when commenting upon the “Dolsky Case” and in “The Sign of Four”, our dear friend Mr Watson, when wittering on about not seeing Sherlock for some time, states ” I heard some vague account of his doings; of his summons to Odessa in the case of the Trepoff murder”.

“Quickly Watson…..the “game” is a-foot!!  I see them now, scurrying to their books and through the vast knowledge held within the electronic pulses of the Internet to prove me wrong!!  But it shall not be Watson, It Shall Not Be!!!”

Ok, Ok…..I’m no Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary genius makes my rambling blog seem “elementary”……..but I am only a bloody builder after all.

Anyway, back to the bar.  When you get onto Polskiy Spuskiy…….well, you don’t have to be “Sherlock” to find it!!……No, I’m not giving you any more clues or a photo of the place……..No, I’m not!!!!

Now, although there is not a single English speaking person in the place……well amongst the staff……obviously if I am in there, then there is an English speaking person in the place…….even if I am not speaking English.  Well as the good Mr Holmes himself said “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – The Adventure of The Blanched Soldier……..the menu is in English.

The food is good and whilst you wait you can look around the themed bar…..and maybe learn a thing or two you didn’t know, or more likely had forgotten about Sherlock, Watson and Sir Arthur.

So, what’s on the menu?

Well, it is too long to type out in full, so you will have to carry out a full investigation when you visit the place……and you should visit the place……..but here are some extracts (including the spelling mistakes……not quite so “elementary” after all)…….

 

Salmon in deductive method (mushrooms, vegetables, sour cream)

Barrymore’s oat flakes

English antiquity (shellfish, shrimps, mushrooms, potatoes, lemon, pot-herbs)

Don’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs (fried eggs)

Mrs. Watson’s Salad (shrimps, egg, ham, dried apricots, tomatoes, black olives)

Octopuses from Madam Tusso

Mrs. Hudson’s chicken with hot seasoning, fried vegetables, bacon (filleted chicken)

Professor Moriarti’s sauce (tomatoes, garlic, Chilly, Tobasco, ketchup)

Sherlock’s coffee

Tea from Irene Adler

Speckled Band (pine-apple juice, ice-cream, banana, pine-apple)

Big Ben (orange, pine-apple and grapefruit juice, syrup)

Stubborn Englishman (vodka, cuantreau, syrup, lemon fresh)

Death in the Swamp (sambuca, fernet branka, absinthe)

Red-Headed League (rum, cuantreau, lemon, orange, and pine-apple juice, syrup)

Naval Treaty (pizang ambon, cuantreau, malibu, pine-apple juice, cream)

“Hookah is a special way of life expressed in an English saying ‘Make haste slowly'”

Gloria trout

English-style soup (pike perch, carrot, champignons, potatoes)

Salmon — Holmes’ recipe (salmon with white wine and fish sauce)

Watson’s kebab

Baker Street potatoes (onion, bacon)

Inspector Lestrade’s tongue with mayonnaise

Permanent Patient (mackerel, lightly salted herring, boiled potatoes, onion)

Salad “Piccadili” (chicken filet, cocot, pickled cucumbers, mayonnaise, mustard)

English gossips in omelet

Holmes’s caprice (chicken meat, walnuts, mayonnaise)

Devonshire chicken (roll stuffed with crab sticks and cheese)

Scotland-Yard (spicy filleted pork with vegetables and champignons)

 

This is by no means an exhaustive guide, but goes a little way to show that the proprietor is at least trying to keep that Old London ambiance…….

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No, I don’t mean he has “street urchins” outside the door of the restaurant saying “Spare us a penny Mister – cor blimey Mister…you’re a proper gent, you are ‘n no mistake” as that would be going a little to far……and probably bad for business too.

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Anyway, give this place a try – you won’t be disappointed!!

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Ukrainian Time Keeping & Business Meetings

March 25, 2009

Ok, being British, when I am due to be at a meeting at 11.00, I am there at 1050……no matter where it is or with whom…..even if it means being “up” and on the road at 0300 to achieve it!

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Standard practice I hear you cry……….well, not here…..or in Russia.

A meeting at 1500 will invariably mean you will be there at 1450.  By 1520, you are wondering if the people you are meeting were told the correct time, day and place.

A quick and somewhat panicked phone call to them confirms they are almost here though…….and another 15 minutes later they arrive.

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Now, you would think this would have an impact on your schedule…..but it does not!  Everybody here works on the assumption that if a meeting is scheduled for 1400, then they can arrive any time between 1400 and 1500.  This leads to a chain reaction which actually, for the most part, doesn’t overlap!!

What it does do is make the day very, very long……….which is one of the reasons why a great number of meetings don’t actually happen in the office, but in restaurants and hotels…..at least you can feed and water yourself whilst waiting!!

Another reason for having the meeting outside of the office, is that, who you are meeting can “do you a deal, one to one” for cash……..the proceeds of which, only they will see!

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This is typical of the vast majority of business meetings I have had, regardless of the size or nature of the company…..or individual involved!

So, having waited for your Ukrainian or Russian counterparts to arrive at the meeting for anything up to an hour, generally the meeting is very direct and no time is wasted on pleasantries other than swapping business cards and/or mobile numbers.

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This does make a nice change from having to do business with Americans…….who “talk shit” for 20 minutes…….before getting to the subject at hand though.  If anyone can make your schedule overlap…..it’s them!!!

Russians and Ukrainians, regardless of how important the meeting is, to either them or you, will not turn off their mobiles.  Not only will they not turn them off, should it ring,…..and it will…..,they will answer it…….regardless of it being at a crucial stage of the meeting, or who it is that is calling them……even if it is their Mum!!

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It is quite likely, that the majority of the 20 minutes the meeting lasts……no matter how complicated the subject of the meeting……..they will spend 50% of that time on their mobile.  Even if you hear them say they are busy and will call back to the person calling them……the person calling them will continue to talk for at least 5 minutes!!

It is most unlikely that the average business meeting will last longer than 20 minutes…….unless there is an American there too, of course…….. as the Russian language is direct and very unambiguous.  The Slavic people are very direct.  This leads to very short, but “to the point” meetings…….which is fortunate as they are always late getting to them, as I say.

Woooooow boy – easy there young fella!!!  If, like you say, a large percentage of business is done with money stuffed inside a manila envelope and swapped at a Service Station on the M1 Southbound……how do you know they won’t just take the money and run?  It’s not like they will give you a receipt!!

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Here, you have a point…….but you will not beat the system of how things are done here.  This is now, a matter of how much you trust your own judgement and how much you need what they can provide.  From the top tiers of the Ukrainian government to the man in the street……..it is business – Slavic style!

Don’t like the sound of it?…………Well don’t come here and try to do business.  Even the largest multi-nationals have failed to circumnavigate  the Ukrainian “business model”……..and I can assure you, dear reader, that your MBA is not worth “shit” here compared to understanding how things actually work…….unless you think you are bigger and better than Telenor or BP…..and if you do, your ego needs deflating.

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What?……..I don’t know what I’m talking about…….You’re gonna get a standard and legal contract and take the “western route”?……..Dream on my idealistic friend…….you think Telenor and BP didn’t have contracts more water-tight than a ducks arse?…….Exactly, of course they did…….and what happened to them and those contracts in the Russian and Ukrainian courts?………

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Which ever way you look at it, to do business in Odessa…..but I mean Ukraine and Russia generally……there is “their way” or no way!  Business here is a matter of who you know (and who they know)……..and not what you know (or think you know).  Maybe this is why they are always very late to meetings………..they know you will wait, because without them you are screwed!!!

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