The Bloom Twins’ Insider Guide to Kiev, Ukraine
18 December, 2019
We're heading east to Kiev for 48 hours with the Ukranian-born pop duo, Bloom Twins.
Known for their moody, synth-pop music and austere fashion, the Bloom Twins grew up in Brovary, an eastern suburb of Kiev. The model-musicians, Sofia and Anna, made the move to London a couple of years back, but make the three-hour flight home as often as their touring schedule allows.
This trip, we were invited to tag along too. Over the course of 48 hours, we rifled through vintage stores, wrote songs, made repeat snack stops at Besarabsky Market, partied at Art-Zavod Platforma and slept in at 11 Mirrors Hotel - and that's just the preamble…
How often do you go back to Kiev?
About three times a year. Nothing feels better than being home.
How do your surroundings impact your music and style?
They impact us greatly. You are what you eat. You are what you observe. London has definitely punked up our styles a bit. Dr Martens are forever a good match - be they paired with a dress or a suit. Musically, we love to write everywhere so that we have a feel of each city we visit. Music is a global language that needs no translation.
The best day of the week to arrive in Kiev is…
Any day; being in the city feels like it's permanently the weekend.
Where's the best place to wake up?
The 11 Mirrors Hotel. Location is the key. From here you can walk to the Golden Gate, Kyiv History Museum, Kyiv Academic Young Theatre or the Besarabsky Market. There's a vast variety of delicious places to eat nearby, too - we like VaBene Bistro and Citronelle.
Coolest neighbourhoods worth exploring…
We are big fans of Besarabsky Market. Since being constructed in 1910, it has fed and inspired many of those living in Kiev.
What's the best way to explore the city?
Definitely on foot.
The best way to spend a Sunday…
Flea markets are filled with little relics of Ukrainian history. Our favourite is Petrivka Market; you might find a rare masterpiece or the most useless stuff you will never need.
The restaurant to book for a dinner with friends?
Chang is our winner. There's outdoor seating and delicious food; everything on the menu is worth trying.
Other food spots we should try…
Chichiko is a stunning Georgian restaurant. There's great wine, great food and a great vibe. Kanapa on Andriyivskyy Descent is a go-to for traditional Ukrainian flavours and interiors.
What's the city's dress code?
The city is diverse, but the coolest kids wear vintage. Our favourite vintage shops include Nika Chick Vintage Corner, Goodbuyfashion and, of course, Andriyivskyy Descent.
Your favourite Ukrainian stores include…
It's worth having a look at the Ukrainian designers. We love Ksenia Schnaider and Bevza.
Where should we go for a big night out in Kiev?
Art-Zavod Platforma. It has amazing street food, live bands and awesome DJs from across the world.
Great music venues to head to on a Saturday night…
For live music we love Stereo Plaza and Atlas, where we played a few times - the atmosphere was absolutely incredible.
Where should we head post-party?
If you enjoy good electronic music, head to either CHI by Decadence House or Art-Zavod Platforma.
One misconception about Kiev is…
That it looks like Moscow and that people mostly speak Russian. Kiev is a great such a mix of people and languages, not only Ukrainian and Russian. The city has its own energy.
For some culture, head to…
Andriyivskyy Descent. You'll find lots of traditional Ukrainian food, souvenirs and will enjoy a beautiful view of St Andrew's Church, Mikhail Bulgakov Museum and Kontraktova Square as well as the young and colourful neighbourhood of Vozdvizhenka.
Your condensed address book would include…
We love Orang+Utan for a healthy organic lunch, Atlas for drinks and live performances and Café Select for a delicous breakfast and coffee.
A book to read before we go?
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Even though it's not a Ukrainian book, it presents an ideology around how people should be living and exploring new places in the world. Don't overwhelm yourself with too many plans, find yourself a good few places to visit and enjoy your journey.
Underrated spots worthy of a visit…
Green 13 Café - a great vegan kitchen with A-grade coffee.
What one thing should we bring back as a souvenir?
You have to bring back a vyshyvanka - a traditional embroidered Ukranian shirt.
A great out-of-town spot is…
Brovary, the little town where we grew up. It has the beautiful Zalissya National Nature Park as well as some great cafés - try the lavender-oat coffee at Pitch Coffee Bar.
What key pieces do you always pack when travelling?
T-shirt, jeans, all the usual stuff… and a film camera.
Where can we go to London for a taste of Kiev?
You should visit Zima Russian Restaurant; it's where we go as soon as we get homesick.
How should we spend the final day of our trip?
Explore beyond the capital. Lviv is one of the most beautiful cities we've ever visited. It's full of history, gorgeous architecture, inspiring people, charming coffee shops and dangerously delicious sweets.
And finally, what's in your SUITCASE for a trip to Kiev?
Film, camera, computer, mini keyboard (to be able to write songs on the go), make-up, hair straighteners, Dr Martens and our favourite mini bag by Stée.