By Fiona Watson
MOVING half way across the world is adventurous and daring. This is the challenge that Maria and Miron Baskakov set themselves to establish a better life for their children.
Maria and Miron come from the Urals region of Russia, with the ancient Ural Mountains marking division between Europe and Asia. With Miron’s specialist skills and experience he and Maria were granted a visa to live and work in Australia and settled in Melbourne where Miron worked as a Database Administrator in information technology. Now with three children Maria and Miron took time to consider where they would like to settle permanently in Victoria, searching for a city that offered excellent schools and health services and, importantly, a sense of community. Ballarat more than fitted the bill and in 2011 the move was made. Here in Ballarat they have found stability and excellent education opportunities for their children, who are thriving in a more predictable environment. But for Maria and Miron the sense of adventure continues as they have become restaurateurs, specialising in classic European food. The café, Sweet and Savoury on Sturt,318 Sturt Street, has been transformed into a restaurant reflecting a European style of yesteryear, with silent movies, music to soothe the senses, the warm glow from a fire, fresh flowers on the tables and food that could be served in the best restaurants of Paris, Vienna or Moscow.
For Maria the move from accountant to establishing a home-based business specialising in delicate, exceptional pastries was easy. Cooking was something she always loved and this is reflected in the number of dedicated clients who are eagerly looking forward to her pastries on the menu. Miron is continuing with his specialist work and assists Maria with front of house on Friday and Saturday nights when they serve dinners. “I am very proud of the food we are serving. The quality is exceptional, the menu is diverse and we hope that we are introducing a different style of dining to the Ballarat community,” Miron said. The menu includes dishes such as sautéed octopus with the flavours of Spain tempting the tastebuds; a terrine rich in pistachio and chicken served with onion marmalade. This is followed by Gnocchi, or Atlantic Salmon, Confit Duck, Steak or Lamb. And if there’s room a light chocolate cake served with exquisite mandarin compote, or a traditional Tarte Tatin. The wine list, though small, more than adequately offers an excellent range of wines to complement the food.
With the tastes and sounds of Europe, patrons only have to close their eyes to be transported to another world. A journey well worth taking! Sweet and Savoury on Sturt, 318 Sturt Street.