berlin dinner club | past events


Dinner Club Night at Pasternak, 31 May 2002

Well, since Pasternak was the choice of the club members for May's dinner, I thought I'd do some research into Russian dining etiquette, despite the fact that I am busier than a one-legged man in an arse-kicking competition. The following excerpts are from Fyodor's Guide to Eating in Russian Restaurants: 

"Most Russian washrooms are small, smelly and wholly unfriendly places. Hence the better restaurants provide alternative services. It is now quite expected that patrons do not have to leave their seats if they wish to use the facilities. Just wave your hand to the waiter, point to the floor between your legs and he or she will bring a bucket over to your table, place it between your legs and provide a discreet towel to cover your bits while you do your business. This applies only for urinations. For the other service, you will still have to get up, pay 25 US dollars to the local Mafia representative and do it on the pavement behind the restaurant. So please make sure that you have emptied your bowels before entering a Russian restaurant. Also, don't walk on pavements behind Russian restaurants." 

"Russian restaurants are divided not into smoking and non-smoking sections, but into Furtzsky and Nyet Furtzsky sections. The distinction becomes clear once you enjoy the food, which tends to be heavy, full of starches and cream, liberally laced with pungent (but not hot) herbs. Basically, the food induces the production of methane in the intestines and the Russians have found an ingenious way of being inoffensive with the release of such gases from the body. Hence, in the Furtzsky section of the restaurant, one will find 2 tubes attached per seat. Men should use the blue tube and ladies the pink tube. When the need to expel intestinal gas becomes overpowering, insert the appropriate tube into the "Nyet Byartinithultzy" (literally translated, "No Sunshine Hole") and just relax, confident that you will not offend your dining companions. However, it is considered very bad form to do anything that may cause a blockage in the "Nyet Byartinithultzy" tubes so it is suggested again that you empty your bowels before dining." 

Other than the above two peculiarly ethnic traits, everything else is perfectly normal in Russian restaurants, so don't worry. The address is Pasternak, Knaackstr 22-24, 10405 Berlin. The nearest U-Bahn is Senefelder Platz and a tram runs up Prenzlauer Allee as well (don't know the tram details yet but it will follow). The scheduled date is Friday, 31st May. The Furtzsky section of the restaurant will accomodate around 12 people, so the usual scramble for places on the dining list starts again... Now. Just send an email to and the first 12 gets on the list. Simple as that. 

And, please, no more than 12 people this time, else we'll have to wait hours for our grub. Folks on the list will get a follow-up email with details of where and when we will congregate beforehand and a map, as usual.