The decision to add a stop in Kazakhstan to my journey was an atypically spur-of-the-moment thing when regular guest quester and host on my previous stop in Istanbul, Hande, mentioned her friend had a connection with the Rixos Hotel in Kazakhstan.
I was keen on a stop somewhere in this part of the world to break up my journey so an Almaty flight was booked and a reservation at the Rixos made. Of course, Hande’s pal works at the one in Astana but that proved little impediment in securing me the warmest of welcomes and some truly exceptional levels of considerate service throughout my stay.
My first interaction with their food and drink team, which included the chef coming out to say hello, was a lunch in their brasserie.
At lunchtime, they offer a business lunch for 7000 tenge which is about £15. This seemed a good way to see what the place was up to. They offered an Asian or European selection from which I chose the latter.
This comprised a feta salad, falafel, and fish soup served as a little starter platter, followed by chicken schnitzel, then a piece of chocolate cake.
Of the platter, the falafel were crisp but otherwise unremarkable and the salad was decent. The soup was very good, though, with both good depth of seafood flavour and good attention to seasoning.
The schnitzel maintained this very good standard, too, with a crisply breaded succulent chicken and brightly fresh vegetables in accompaniment.
The chocolate cake was damn good with very pleasing tempering on the chocolate curl atop the sumptuous gateau.
I had booked for breakfast each day which isn’t usually my way but I was glad to avail myself of their wares. They offered the usual buffet approach, with the additional attraction of egg dishes cooked to order.
On the first day I had some very good fried eggs then piled on impressive bacon, some little savoury doughnuts, some spinach and a little chicken cutlet. Diverse. It was top stuff and was accompanied by good coffee.
I had their cheese and mushroom omelette the next day and it was great. This was followed by another long handshake with the chef. Scrambled eggs on the final morning were really good, as were the little potato dumplings.
So overall, the Rixos did a very good job of keeping me fed at all the right times during my joyful trip Almaty. It’s a fabulous hotel – absolutely 5 star all the way – and their food and drink offering backs this up in strong fashion. I strongly suspect this is the best place to stay in the city and well worth booking as your base of operations should you choose to follow in my footsteps to explore this intriguing land.
Blythe scores the Rixos
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16/20
I ate: business lunch set European menu (plus the various breakfasts mentioned)
I drank: sparkly water, espresso
I wore: linens
Total bill: 8800t for lunch
Address: Seyfullin Street 506/99, Almaty 050012