Pelmeni and varenyky are filled dumplings from Russia and Ukraine, respectively. Both countries are represented by large populations in Prague, but absurdly, for a long time the city had no restaurant specialising in these Eastern Slavic versions of ravioli. Such an anomaly was finally resolved in 2017, when Bistro Váleček (The Little Rolling Pin) filled this gap in the market. The establishment, which has two small rooms, lures guests with homemade soup, such as robust Georgian kharcho or Ukrainian borscht.
Otherwise, the emphasis at Bistro Váleček is on dumplings produced in all sorts of ways. The menu always features six basic forms of them. Thus, you can opt for sweet varenyky with cherries and sugar and two other meat-free versions: with mushrooms, or with potato puree with fried onion. In contrast, pelmeni are usually meat-filled, but you can try a lighter version with salmon and chopped dill, or with chicken. The classic version combines leaner beef and fattier pork. Pelmeni and varenyky at Valeček are mostly boiled, but sometimes you can opt for baked versions.
You won’t find the savoury pancakes served at the restaurant every day, so if you see them on the menu, do go ahead and order them. For the mushroom-filled versions, or those with a filling such as spinach, excel. The pancakes aren’t Breton-style galettes but the “full-blooded” Eastern Slavic pancakes.Karolína