Today was a bleak and dreary grey day, a damp early February afternoon with the overcast skies of late November. So we cut our Saturday walk short and headed to our usual cafe across from Beta Stores. Only problem is it’s under renovation and looks like it’s being turned into a Mexican joint (noooo….). So we ventured down the street and ended up stopping for cappuccinos and cake at Prego Cafe, which we had never visited, but which is rated as one of the top ten restaurants in Bishkek.
I’d give the joint full points for presentation – everything is nice, well-proportioned, subtle and suitable. Our drinks came out not too long after we ordered and actually looked beautiful. The server attempted to speak English, and seemed to genuinely listen to our orders. In mid-afternoon there were a dozen or so customers, but the high-backed seats and divided rooms ensured that the cafe was quiet for conversation. No obnoxiously loud music, no tv’s (one of the few places in Bishkek that doesn’t have music videos playing at all hours of the day).
But the food (at least the one piece of walnut cake we shared) was blase – dry, and the sauce (frosting?) a little too sweet and definitely too runny.
Quite honestly, the Giraffe Coffee stands make the best espresso drinks (only to go, but for 90-110 som), and Adriano Coffee (next to БГУ on Manas, just South of Beta Stores 1, and half a block South of Beta 2) has a better espresso bar (along with okay Kyrgyz interpretations of Western desserts and a decent soup/salad/burger menu) with mid-priced drinks.
Coffee and Prego cafe is still fine, and the quiet settings make it a good local for an afternoon chat. The (extensive, slightly overpriced) Russian/Italian lunch and dinner menu looked interesting, so it still might be a good place to go for a leisurely meal, date night, or anytime you want to dine in a calmer, quieter atmosphere and actually have a conversation over dinner.