- Food & Drink
Killing Italian cuisine and salting its grave since 1956, Sbarro is one of the few options available to hungry tourists racing between attractions around Red Square. We’d spent a highly cultural morning peering at Lenin in his brutalist marble crypt and then gazing at the jewels and dresses of the Tsars and Tsarinas in the Kremlin’s Armoury (can you guess which sparkly attraction we ladies liked more?). The banana pastry I’d had for breakfast (the filling was a bit of a surprise) wasn’t going to sustain me any longer.
There are a lot of hot dog stands in the gardens around the Kremlin, but we are old women and like a nice sit down with our lunch. We headed towards a small parade of restaurants opposite the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and, knowing that hunger makes you indecisive, opted for the first restaurant we hit. How I wish we’d pushed on 20 more metres towards the nice looking metal chairs. That was McDonalds and I’d have enjoyed eating McDonalds in Moscow.
Sbarro is a chain. You take your tray, order the slice of pizza you want and then fill up plastic dishes with salads or pasta meals. Leonard and I both went for a pizza that was ostensibly vegetarian, DJ went for ham and mushroom. The pizzas were dough pies stuffed with vegetables and a mozzarella-like substance, which had been delicately seasoned with salt, more salt and then some more salt. As an added bonus, Leonard and I hit a seam of bright orange chicken at the crust end of our pizza slices.
The salad we’d picked in an attempt to be healthy looked fresh and tasted like salt. The squidgy white balls of plastic masquerading as mozzarella in the tomato and mozzarella salad actually crunched as you bit into them, they were so salty. On the upside, it meant I really enjoyed my Tropicana cherry juice drink. For 3 pizza slices, 1 salad and 3 cartons of juice, we paid 1,000 roubles – £20ish. This is known as ‘a scandal’.
Packed full of tourists blank faced with culture shock and salt poisoning, Sbarro is where Italian food is tortured and kidneys face their ultimate challenge. Avoid.