When my husband came back from a business dinner and told me he’d been to a restaurant with a goat inside the building, I have to confess that I briefly feared for his sanity. But not only does Shinok have a real live goat, it also has a small cow, pheasants, chickens and a couple of peacocks too.
About one-quarter of the space inside the large restaurant is taken up by a live recreation of a Ukranian peasant farm. Fully enclosed behind floor to ceiling glass, my children were fascinated by the animals and thoroughly enjoyed watching the pheasants running up and down the bent oak tree (I think the tree must have been fake, because surely real roots would play havoc with the brickwork??), as well as giving a running commentary on what the lady employed to look after them was up to (“I think she’s grating apple for the goat, mummy!”).
Just when the charms of the real animals were beginning to wear off a little, my two spotted this fantastic bit of kids entertainment – a wooden cut-out of a cow which was dotted in plasticine, pieces of coloured pasta, and beans. There was a pot next to it with fresh supplies, and both Little Pickle and Beanie-boy spent ages adding pasta and plasticine to the collective collage. As if all that wasn’t enough to keep the little ones happy, at around 2pm a wonderful young lady appeared who kept the children further engaged with painting and that most beloved of children’s games – bubbles! When it came to go home, Little Pickle was having such a fabulous time that she screamed as we tried to prize her away and continued to cry all the way downstairs to the cloakroom. I think she’d be more than happy to go back every weekend!
Shinok isn’t just entertainment for the kids though, it’s a really great restaurant decorated in (as my husband termed-it) a rural-chic style with exposed brickwork, wooden beams and cast-iron pans hanging from the wall. The service was first-rate, and the food was delicious with a definite nod towards fine-dining (my beetroot and goats cheese salad came with dehydrated beetroot, and beetroot puree as well as the roasted kind!) with some interesting dishes and flavour combinations to try – my husband particularly liked the salted porcini, and I very much enjoyed the duck with cherry sauce and pickled melon.
There isn’t a kids-menu (our two were happy just to know there was chicken shashlik available), but the restaurant did have high-chairs for the little ones and also very sweetly offered to make French fries for our children. They do have an English-language menu available. And it might be worth telling you that the entrance is next to a florist – I managed to walk past the door without noticing it!
Shinok is at Number 2, Ulitsa 1905 Goda and their website can be found at: http://shinok.ru/en/