The Moscow Restaurant 莫斯科餐厅 (Fectopah Mockba?) in 西城区, 西直门外大街135号, Beijing (on the west side of the Beijing Exhibition Center 北京展览馆 and east of the Beijing Zoo) is an institution since it opened the door in October 1954, during the first Five-Year-Plan. The revolving doors open up to a grand foyer. Massive steps to the left leading up to the dinning hall. Chandeliers are hinging from the 7 meters high ceiling. It is grandiose, and the most visible one. Because it was the first western restaurant and had no competition. When it was first opened, the management used security guards to vet the dinners, only allowed the one with the coupon. The magnificent building seems to say stay away more than welcoming, plus the outrageous expensive menu, (in relativity) made it exclusive. The food was done by Russian chefs who preferred heavy creamed fare that hardly fit to a Chinese palate. Going there was something worth bragging about. Back to 50s, 60s and 70s. a.k.a. before Deng Xiaoping’s economical reform, it was the only place in town. Xiaoyi missed my Mom, her sis’ celebration: she’s med student and was too timid by the grandeur, sat on the steps and waited. But we loved it for the privilege and indulgence not available elsewhere in Beijing, at time. Affectionately, we coined it Lao Mo. Mother had to quit college at end of her junior year due to tuition, but she was able to corral Yeye into paying for her wedding banquet here. The maître d’s, standard issue nowadays in China. I last heard the job applicants need their portraits and be under 25.. guess Quasimodo would have tough time. … I couldn’t remember exactly how the interior had looked back then, but the ambiance remains pretty much the same, subdued. The entrance hall. I took kids there in 2003. They had good time spotting the mistakes in the menu. I had coffee, it arrived with reasonable time; but I had to ask for milk twice. And waited for them to milk the cow. When they finally finished, was only able to bring a few drops, guess the cow was on diet. French maid outfit? Do Russians dress like this? USSR was once the closest big bro to China. Or that’s the way school and media convey to us. But reading Dr. Li’s memoir, did I realize Mao never liked Moscow nor trusted the Northern bears. Instead he loved the Americans. Now that’s a riot! Although it’s a state run and still takes break between lunch and dinner, but they sure know the power of ad:
Let the Moscow Restaurant Grow With You
The giant ad by the door says so … lol. Lao Mo ..