Friday, February 22, 2013

Cafe Review: Sierra Coffee KG

Sierra Coffee KG
Manas, by the Russian Embassy

Snuggled in between two rather imposing buildings, Sierra Coffee offers customers comforting cups of Western coffee concoctions and familiar food. 

If you are looking for lattes, frappes, or a simple cup of coffee, you will not be disappointed purchasing it here. In addition to freshly ground coffee, the menu includes breakfast burritos, pancakes and waffles (with real maple syrup!), and a slew of sandwiches. 

There are many cafes in Bishkek, but in my opinion Sierra has the most relaxed atmosphere. As you walk in, you will see groups of dark wooden tables and chairs and sofas in a warm interior. Near the front window, there is a bar seating-area, which is perfect for people watching. To the left, there is a smoking room for smokers. There's a communal library near the sofas and Krygyz handicrafts line the other walls.  

Before going, I had read other reviews that the staff were not customer friendly; however, after visiting Sierra several times, I can say the rumors are not true. All of the staff speak Russian, Krygyz, and even English. In the short time that I have been here, I have become a regular, and the waiters and waitresses know my name and normal order, just like at any other Western cafe.   

The feeling of community does not end with the staff, most of the customers know each other at Sierra because this cafe is basically Bishkek's expat hub. You'll never know who you'll meet when you sit down. I've met people ranging from backpackers, embassy and IGO workers, young local professionals, local university students, to ESL teachers. If you are looking for any information about Bishkek or the surrounding area, stop here first. 

The only negative aspects that I have experienced so far are not enough seating (especially in the mornings on the weekend), prices are rather expensive in comparison to other places and sometimes the cafe is understaffed, but overall, Sierra has been an amazing source of comfort as I transition to life in Bishkek. 

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