Saturday 22nd February 2014
The Flying Pig is located in a northern suburb of Rişcani on a long boulevard between innumerable high rise blocks. It is situated atop a hill and you can see the area from the city centre. Despite its urbanisation, it seems to be in a nice district. It is clean, not always the case in Chişinău, and there are lots of shops, some serving the basics of life, such as supermarkets and others that are considerably more up-market; real sources of retail therapy. Another aspect of this area which sets it apart is that there are no stray dogs, or none that I saw.
The day before we had taken a trip to a town called Bender in the rather odd country of Transnistra that that broke away from the Soviet Union in 1990. It has its own border checkpoints, parliament, currency, police and army, yet is not recognised by the United Nations.
The point about this was that we thought that Bender was a lot cleaner than central Chişinău. Yet, in comparing it with this district we were wrong, as it was very smart unlike most of the city.
Off the street, there are two entrances, one for the Flying Pig and the other for La Botul Calului (The Horse's Mouth). Both are under the same management and basically the difference is that the Horse's Mouth offers Moldovan cuisine and the Flying Pig serves German food. Between the two pubs is a lovely metal sculpture of the rather fat pig about to launch itself in to the air carrying a foaming glass of beer in each hand (trotter?).
Down the stairs and into the pub; I noticed there was a small room on the left (VIPs?) with the main room being on the right. On the right of the room there was stage where a band was setting up. At this point we feared the worse, but after murdering a song sung in English they mercifully stopped. As it was lunchtime I guess they were to play that evening when no doubt, they would walk on to rapturous applause, immediately starting to play, having previously tuned up all their instruments to our earlier suffering.
The decor is very solid; lots of varnished hard wood and stuffed leather coverings. There are some nice stained glass "windows" and lamps. The bar itself is rather beautiful, being made of carved dark wood in a traditional style. There are many wall paintings, including one of the almost obligatory King Gambrinus. Along with this there are electric chandeliers dangling from the ceiling and it provides good impression of "Gemütlichtkeit", a collective German word for cosiness, comfort, friendliness and all that sort of thing. Which is just what is required from an imitation Bavarian pub. It was opened during 2009.
Before I left home I could not find out the provenance the draught beers under the Flying Pig name. I was hoping for enlightenment when I got here, but to no avail. The waiter said it came from a small brewery not far away.
I suppose that narrows it down to two: Gotter or Keller. It has been suggested that these are rebadged beers. If this is the case it rules out Keller as they do not brew a wheat beer.
My money is on Gotter and it is possibly their beers given different names. They are good and you can tell that quality ingredients have been used. They were: Classic, Unpasteurised, Weiss, Dark and Happy Pig. What I suggest they are, in the same order: Gotter's Blonda (filtered), Blonda (unfiltered), Psenicnoe (weisse the t wheat), Bruna (unfiltered). Yet, what is Happy Pig? My guess is Gotter Porter as it was dark and more expensive than then other beers, which would tie in with its higher strength. However, this is all pure conjecture, not fact.
But, whatever their provenance, they are well worth drinking. It is very easy to take the short journey out of the city centre to this district. The food is good, the service attentive and the pub is air-conditioned, useful in this country which can get very hot in the summer months.
The Flying Pig, Bulevardu Moscovei 9, Chişinău. MD-2068. Tel: 079 988 880
Open: Monday-Sunday 10.00-24.00
There are two trolleybus routes from the city centre. These are the 10 and 14; the destination of both is Strada Studentilor. Alight at the Strada M. Costin stop. Walk back towards the city with the small park on your left. At the intersection with Strada M. Costin, cross to the other side of Bulevardu Moscovei and resume walking towards the city centre on the opposite side. After 100 metres you will find the Flying Pig. When returning, just exit the pub and turn left. The bus stop is 50 metres from the door.
Chişinău station is served by a daily train from Bucureşti (Rumania) which takes 13 hours overnight. There is another daily train to and from Odessa (Ukraine) that it not overnight.
Trains on specific days of the week, normally every two, operate to Moscow (two routes) and St Petersburg.