After my trip to the ultra-Soviet pelmennaya, I decided to change my focus a little—this is a huge, dynamic city, after all, so why not check out what the new Moscow has to offer? LyudiKakLyudi is a tiny café located in the hip Kitai Gorod neighborhood, run by the owners of the equally hip Propaganda nightclub. The café specializes in pirogi (Russian pies), sandwiches, and fresh juice cocktails. It’s name, by the way, translates loosely to “NormalPeople” (I assume they spell it without spaces because that’s the way the cool kids do it).
I arrived a little after one o’clock, and the only place available was a stool next to the counter. The clientele looked to be in their late-twenties to mid-thirties, and I imagined that the majority of them were on break from their jobs in design, marketing, or advertising from the chick look of them. There was a set business lunch menu available for 200 rubles consisting of a salad, a soup, and your choice of sandwich or pirog. Drinks were not included, which is too bad, because there were about twelve different kinds of juice cocktails listed on the wall, each made up of at least six ingredients. They all sounded delicious, but I wasn’t prepared to spend 180 rubles (nearly $6) to try them out.
The mushroom soup was a little cooler than I’d have liked it to be, but I was placated by the impressively large chunks of mushrooms I discovered under the sour cream floating on the top. The salad, to my delight, was completely western—lettuce, bell peppers, cucumber, and tomato, with a light Italian dressing. The lettuce was very fresh and crisp, which is somewhat of a rarity in Russia. I was tempted to try the eggplant pirog, but I have been missing sandwiches something awful lately so I ordered one with roast beef. The bread was just the right consistency. It wasn’t too dry, but it still held up well when bitten into. The meat had the right texture, but was slightly lacking in flavor. The house horseradish was a nice touch—not too sharp (as Russian horseradish tends to be), but it still had a bite to it (which western horseradish tends to lack). Overall, a very decent sandwich.
While the business lunch is a great deal, the regular menu is also reasonably priced. All sandwiches are 170 rubles and all the pies are 150 rubles. You can also check out some additional pictures of the cafe and its food in this Russian-language article from afisha.ru.
LyudiKakLyudi is a good place to go if you miss the kind of hip little cafés found in larger American cities, with quality ingredients and neo-soul playing softly in the background. The only thing that didn’t live up to my expectations was the service: the young man who took orders was too busy to give anyone more than half a second of his attention, and his opinion of me was revealed when he used the familiar form to ask me a question. The two women who worked next to him seemed friendly, though, and were clearly enjoying themselves. In any case, if you find yourself wanting a “real” meal with quality ingredients, I suggest head over to LyudiKakLyudi and try out their lunch menu.
For groups and faculty-led tours, LyudiKakLyudi is probably not the best choice. Although the service is fast, it’s small and does not have much to say about traditional Russian culture. If you really wanted to add this to your line up, you probably could, however, if you will be arriving in the summer. Pick up your sandwiches to go and head over the nearby park surrounding the Kitai Gorod metro station.