Khalol, St. Petersburg 06-2019

For the final meal in St. Petersburg it was a toss up. I really enjoyed the previous Georgian and Uzbek food, but I really wanted samsas again. I searched for another Uzbek restaurant and came across this local place with samsa mentioned within the 65 Russian (100% of them) Google reviews. It is also open 24h making it perfect for after drinks. I didn't have the stomach space to visit after Orthodox, so this required a dedicated trek there - in the form of Yondex (Uber takeover app in Russia).

This was as local as we ate during the trip. Even the local places before had more decor whereas this was bare tables, an Uzbek family in the corner, and minimal English spoken with none in the menu. There wasn't the luxury of previous places having a photo of each dish with the name. No matter, I had been enjoying these types of experiences recently. And the prices... my goodness. A full meal for 4 for 1260rub.

- Bread 35rub was huge, quite dense and heavy. Smelled sweet but tasted slightly salty. Nice but need to eat with something. We asked for one but they brought us 2. Way too much in the end;
- Samsa lamb 200g 70rub - unforunately this was a more dry baked type than the deliciously rich one I hoped for. Nonetheless it was ok and the filling decent. Still can't compare though;
- Lagman 400g 180rub - noodles handmade were a bit too soft. But the broth was thicker than Uchkuduk with a tomato/beef flavour and soft meat. Good overall and better than previous ones;
- Pilaf 300g 180rub - moist, a bit oily but not too much. Good flavour but not too strong. Nice balance from vegetables, chickpeas. Chunk of tender beef on top. A bit stringly but overall good;
- Mutton kebab 400g 330rub turned out to not be a kebab. It was braised and very soft and tender. Raw ingredients added balance.

I would happily go back, not so much for the samsas, but definitely for the lagman or pilaf.