‘I tried London’s best Ukrainian takeaway and it was so good I can’t believe I’ve never eaten it before’ – Lea Dzifa Seeberg

I’ve never tried Ukrainian food before. In fact, I haven’t really thought much about Ukraine until recently. But with current events, I’ve been trying to find little ways to support Ukrainians here and abroad.

And one small thing we can all do is buy from Ukrainian restaurants and shops. With that in mind, I decided to order from Olenka Ukrainian Kitchen – a supposedly takeaway so it only has five-star reviews on Google.

I had no preconceptions of the food other than a faint hope it would be similar to the Polish food cooked by my partner’s family. And I was in luck; the menu was full of familiar dishes with foreign names. I was in for a treat.

READ MORE:Ukrainian takeaway in East London swamped with new customers since Russia started war

Chicken Kyiv – £11.99



This was the most golden piece of chicken I’ve ever seen

I’ll be completely honest: I screamed ‘wow’ a little too loudly when I opened this box. The golden crust on this butter and dill-stuffed chicken was as perfect as I’ve ever seen and I didn’t think it could impress me any more. Then I cut it open – and butter flooded onto my plate in a most breathtaking manner. The chicken itself was perfectly cooked and covered in herbs that created a beautiful symphony of flavours. Pungent garlic smell emanated from the slab of meat as soon as I cut into it but by some miracle it didn’t translate into bad breath.

Total score: 5/5

Derony – £7.99



The potato pancakes soaked up all the chicken’s butter

My Polish partner’s reaction when I opened this box of potato pancakes was ‘wow, just like grandad makes’. So I knew I was in for a treat. These pancakes, made of grated potato and flour, were fluffy, crispy and the perfect vessel for the leftover butter on my plate. There was a certain chewy resistance to the pancakes that made them extra filling and I could have happily eaten them on their own.

Total score: 5/5

Varenyky – £7.99



The potato dumplings were silky smooth

I’m proud to call myself a bit of a Polish dumpling connoisseur and these are the Ukrainian version of the potato-filled pillows of deliciousness. I’ve had the Polish ones at birthdays, at Christmas and on New Year’s and I’ve even been honored with the family recipe. And while I can’t legally say that these were better than my mother-in-law’s, they were pretty close. The dough was perfectly silky and the filling had a perfect ratio of onion to potato blended so well I could have eaten it on its own. The dumplings were so perfect they took me back to the countless times I’ve made dumplings with my Polish in-laws and when food can evoke memories like that, you know it’s delicious.

Total score: 5/5

Pelmeni – £8.99



The pork dumplings had so much depth of flavour

These were the only dish I’d never heard of and I’m so sad I’ve missed out on years of eating them. Pelmeni are dumplings too but instead of potato they’re filled with pork. The dough was the same one used for the potato dumplings but the filling was at a whole ‘nother level: smokey, meaty and with a depth of flavor that’s rare in a takeaway. And though they seemed nondescript, a heady aroma of meat filled my kitchen every time I stabbed a dumpling. I could happily eat only these for the rest of times.

Total score: 5/5

Syrniki – £6.49



The syrniki were my least favorite part but not by much

Syrniki are sweet pancakes made with cottage cheese and as such I expected light and fluffy and I wasn’t disappointed. The thick pancakes were chock full of cottage cheese and had a lovely lemony flavor running though them. But the pancakes were too sweet for my liking and I felt uncomfortably full by the end.

Total score: 3/5

The verdict

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I can’t believe I’ve been sleeping on Ukranian food all this time. I’m 21 years old and I’m only just experiencing the miracle that is pelmeni and that’s a travesty. Olenka Ukranian Kitchen, thank you for opening my mind to the beauty of your country’s food. I’m feasting on the leftovers as we speak.

Do you have a food story you think we should cover? If so, email whatson@mylondon.news or lea.seeberg@reachplc.com

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