IT is a staple on menus across Spain and often appears as a free tapas alongside a caña or glass of wine but something has happened to the ‘Ensaladilla Rusa’.

Since the invasion of the Ukraine at the end of February, the typical potato salad, a mix of vegetables and chunks of tuna coated in thick mayonnaise, has not been notably absent from bar tops from Madrid to Malaga.

Instead many establishments have renamed it in solidarity with Ukrainians, dropping the ‘Russian’ from the title and serving ensaladilla de Kiev instead or reverting to the name Salad Olivier, in honour of the legendary chef Lucien Olivier who is credited with inventing it.

It follows the same reasoning that saw Americans  rename ‘French fries’ as ‘freedom fries’ after France refused to support the Iraq war.

One restaurant owner, Jacobo Vazquez of Castizo group of restaurants in Malaga,  turned to social media to canvas opinion on what he should rename his stable dish.

Castizo Post

The answer he chose was Salad Olivier.

From Zaragoza to Alicante, restaurants have chalked up new names.

“It just seems wrong to be serving Russian salad right now,” insisted the woman behind the bar in Madrid classic Casa Julio last week as she plonked down a plate of something that looked remarkably like it. “Let’s just call it ensaladilla Kiev instead.”

 Other restaurants have not dropped the dish entirely but named it by its ingredients instead.

At the upmarket Aroma restaurant beneath the Heritage Hotel in Madrid’s Salamanca district, the dish appears simply as ‘potato salad’ with red prawn tartare.

Potator Salad At Aroma
Potato salad at Aroma in Madrid.


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