Kitchen in the dark while the electricity goes out in Kyiv

Kitchen in the dark while the electricity goes out in Kyiv


It gets dark at 6pm as planned, but diners at this upscale Kiev restaurant are unimpressed and happy to get on with their meal and conversation.

Guided by her phone’s flashlight, the waitress brings out dishes and hands out candles. She smiles while waiting for the generator to start.

The atmosphere in the central Supra restaurant, which is bathed in soft candlelight, is cosy, not spooky.

As winter approaches, darkness falls over Kyiv at 4:00 p.m. Places like Supra offer their customers access to some light and warmth — as well as WiFi.

Alina Germash, a 36-year-old IT professional, has compiled a list of coffee shops where she can sit down with her laptop.

“You have to go all over town and find a place to start your work,” she said.

For much of the past month, Russian strikes have severely damaged Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

To relieve the strain on the power grid, the national energy supplier has imposed controlled power outages in the war-torn country.

Daily power outages have been imposed in Kyiv for the past two weeks.

At Supra, the menu has been reorganized to accommodate the new restrictions.

Guests are now offered cold appetizers that do not require electricity, dishes that can be reheated with the help of the generator, and drinks.

Filter coffee, kept warm on the stove, is particularly popular with customers when it’s three degrees Celsius outside.

Manager Valeria Mamysheva said that small luxuries like filter coffee are important and can brighten the day.

“We constantly try to find a way out of every situation and make people happy because times are very tough,” Mamysheva told AFP.

– Open, power failure or not –

Kyiv has a 11pm curfew, but most restaurants close at 9pm to give staff time to clean up and take public transport home.

Many supermarkets have had to adapt to maintain proper food storage temperatures during power outages.

Small street stalls equipped with candles or headlamps have sprung up to help residents with emergency shopping.

But some restaurants find generators too noisy or can’t afford the high fuel prices.

Power outages are particularly bad for business at Kyiv’s Pizzeria 1708, which doesn’t have a generator.

“A pizza oven runs on electricity, not firewood, so we can’t work,” lamented owner Ilona, ??who spoke by the light of an LED lamp while staff waited for power to be restored.

Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko has warned of a “worst-case” scenario this winter “without electricity, water and heating” if Russia continues its attacks on the country’s infrastructure.

Roman Khadys hopes to keep his cocktail bar open, power outages or not.

“If a power outage coincides with the start of our work, we shift our opening hours,” Khadys said, while whiskey bottles glittered in the candlelight behind him.

“If it’s the middle of the day, then we prepare food and clean.”

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