You are what you eat

As an early riser I always start my day with a double cappuccino just to get the motor running. I’m so lucky to be staying at the Hotel Bursa in Kyiv because their breakfast menu is full of yummy options. 

Choose an English Breakfast, French Breakfast, homemade granola, or the Bursa version of Eggs Benedict: two poached eggs with hollandaise sauce on top of medium-rare roast beef and fresh bread (my personal favourite). Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, all the food is incredible thanks to a team of amazing chefs. Furthermore, the menu changes every three months which keeps your taste buds looking forward to even more choice.    

Not on the menu

However, some of the best meals are not even on the menu. I’m referring to ’staff food’. If you’ve been following my posts from Ukraine, you’ll recall that the average shift at Bursa is 12 hours, while the security team actually works 24-hour shifts! Working all day with a one-hour commute on both ends doesn’t afford a lot of time to pack a lunch or make breakfast. Fortunately, the awesome Bursa kitchen crew takes care of the staff just as well as they take care of guests.

Always available are a collection of simple, one plate meals for staff. So occasionally, big bowl of steaming borscht arrives at my table. Sometimes a sweeter offering will appear, perhaps a lemon cake with sticky vanilla icing, or a pear tart, or even a chocolate creme brulé.  

Home cooking

Usually however, you’ll see staff eating as most Ukrainians do. Yes, it would be easier to serve the regular menu items to staff but they prefer something more home cooked. Bursa chefs can create outstanding cosmopolitan meals for sophisticated European palates, but they can also whip-up perogies, buckwheat and chicken that any Ukrainian would swear their Baba just made. Borscht is always served with a couple of slices of rye bread and salo (fatty bacon), that just might top my own grandmother’s – sorry Baba… 

Staff meals are always available in the form of shrink-wrapped plates ready to be heated a moment’s notice. You never know when a plumber or electrician will need to be fed while they work all night to repair emergency damage inflicted by a Russian missile attack. All Ukrainians work doubly hard during wartimeand they don’t make a lot of money, so warm comfort food made with love by ‘family’, goes a long way.  

Slava Urkani!  Heroaim Slava!