Given the time of lower spending capacity and general drift “from nowhere to nowhere,” last winter / spring 2016 season gave us nothing extraordinary. But it was enough to form restaurants top ten. There appeared two contradictory but quite innovative newcomers: “Moscow – Delhi” and Max’s beef for money. Dmitry Zotov and Glen Ballis, well-known chefs and now already proper restaurateurs, settled down there as well. Ilya Shalev, Ragout Restaurant star, now welcomes guests in Skolkovo Golf Club. For nostalgics there is quasi-Soviet restaurant “Moskvovskoe Nebo” at VDNKh. Ilya Tiutenkov launched sophisticated “Severyane”, Adrian Ketgalas decided to make chicken at AQ Chicken, and Vladimir Mukhin – mushrooms at Mushrooms. In Trekhgornaya manufactory there emerged wonderful Touche restaurant under Taras Kirienko supervision. If you have missed on one of these restaurants for some reason – fix it immediately.
Be prepared to the fact that you come not to a restaurant but virtually for a visit. At the entrance you will have to take off your shoes. Inside you will see a cozy hole with a hive of otherworldly for Moscow activity. Let us not scare you with the words like thali, dosa, paneer tikka, or urad dal – you are to eat it all, and believe me, you will be delighted with this food. The degree of elation varies, but we’ve seen no indifferent people yet. Please note that the restaurant owners are vegetarians. But here’s a miracle. Even the most downright meat eater won’t have a thought to make a scene here. All food is cooked and served in such a way that the idea to give up meat doesn’t seem so fierce as before. The reason is that “Moscow – Delhi” cuisine surely has Indian roots, but it would be more correct to call it home cuisine with Indian motives. This in turn guarantees its proper adaptation to Moscow realities. At the moment «Moscow – Delhi» is the most authentic Indian restaurant in Moscow. In spite of some extremity of claim, the atmosphere in the restaurant is wonderful. It’s especially nice to sprawl on the chest and slowly sip biodynamic wine, watching the work in the kitchen in the epicenter of which you, in fact, will be.
After experience with “Nedalny Vostok” restaurant and his own Glenuill and lesArtist projects, an Australian with a big Russian heart Glen Ballis acts in the genre of cheerful sushi bistro. Japanese food has long left the stage under the pressure of burgers and beards and gone from the “cheap and tasty” category to “for such money it cannot be bad”. Glen does not try to break through the thick ice of the industry as an icebreaker, but rather neatly fills not-yet-reached niches. Reconsidered usual things worked out extremely well. Tuna sashimi is fresh and, I beg your pardon, just melts in your mouth. Grilled shrimps show the perfect sweet-spicy balance, and walnut sauce ideally accompanies spinach leaves. Grilled beef has a romantic fire flavor. As it always happens with Glen, complex flavor combinations appear to be ideally collected and very comfortable. In the dessert section you can entertain yourself with a tart with yuzu cream and tiramisu with green tea, but the main hit is the cheesecake. It is extremely fluffy, like soufflé, accompanied by a light cream with slightly sour taste. We’d like to note that there is no sense to go here intentionally all dressed up for dinner but you can come to snack in the middle of the workday. It’s a bistro, after all.
Max’s Beef for Money
It’s clear from the title that the whole kitchen concept of the cuisine can be described with one word: meat. The gist is that the owners of the restaurant have their own herd of Angus bulls. After slaughter beef is immediately sent to the MBFM, the chamber where it is kept for about a month. You will be offered meat either in the form of an alternative steak or in the form of a title steak. The menu inspires confidence with its non-Moscow approach. There are only ten positions. Of interesting is beef bread – required for consumption, big rarity in Moscow. From tech – trampoline or Piedmontese tartar – made directly by the book, only the fluffy meat, butter and salt. Everything else is the same meat cheeks stewed in port with young vegetables and meat bourguignon. But the real breakthrough here – this is not a herd of calves, but wine list of course. There are four sections: “Tradition” and “Neo-Classic” – wine from the classic terroirs, but made by different technologies. “Modernists” – author’s wines from new terroirs and “orthodox” – this is the most cutting edge winemakers who rely on biodynamic theory. Such wines to buy in the store is very difficult, since their manufacture – is virtually hand-made and the amounts are small. Of the 98 bottles on the menu only 4 we were able to find in the online-shops. We whined and moaned that there’re no advanced wine restaurants with good food in centre. It seems that there’s potential for one to finally appear. Perhaps the owners will be accused of ideological rigidity, but as Dobrovinsky says in his lectures, “With a soft brand one can make no children”.
Leaders of restaurant establishment Ilya T’utenkov and Uilliam Lamberti wanted to open “Severyane” in autumn, but innate perfectionism allowed them to open it only in the middle of February. Surprisingly, but something that seemed to be a joy ride at first has worked out in the end. Restaurateurs enjoy the idea of “atmosphere”. It is hard to measure it but we will make a comparison. “Severyane” is as atmospheric as a tank with propane. It contains 16 atmospheres, by the way. Fried romano lattuce with shrimps that is trendy today has a light smoky flavor because it was cooked in a stove. Beef tartare is not that simple as well, classic recipe is turned inside out. There is original pastrami in baked pita tested by Ivan Shishkin himself. The verdict is “good enough”. A separate hit is a dish called “celery with truffles” – actually, it is a twist of pasta, only instead of pasta celery is cut into stripes. It is necessary to try “lamb tongues with beetroot ketchup”. “Severyane” is not about pure gastronomy. You wont find any foam, valences or any other fine dining here. Instead there is strictly regulated food for every day. On the West it is called comfort food. And for some unknown reason particularly in Moscow it is in a Red Book. If we imagine that restaurant market of Moscow as a music show-business and insert “Severyane” uprise in it, then the situation will be like that: Stas Mychailov’s produce lumpish tracks, one-day hits blush and burn out, someone twerks actively, makes felt boots, and whatever else happens. And suddenly – BOOM – brand-new U2 album is being released. And now it is clear, who are the real musicians, and who are not.
Wing or leg
Restaurant took place in a reserved gastrozone on Patriarch’s Ponds, to the right of Uilliam’s itself. Dmitry Zotov is a co-owner and a brend-chef of the restaurant. Food is time- and place-tested Dmitry’s hits. The menu is short and works as an automatic fire – without a miss and knocking you dead. Let us start with revelations: beef tartare with chipotle and halibut, rice and Amarillo. You cannot leave this place without these dishes. Chicken feels confident – great roasting extent, golden crust, it is pleasure to eat it with your hands. In “Snacks” section there is an interesting Peruvian cake with tuna – Dmitry can speak on fashionable theme in his way: simply and plainly – potatoes, tuna and sauce. “Starters” has nice tomatoes with quinoa, it has also good bruschettas, funny crab donuts and cheeseburger, of course. As far as originally “Leg or wing” is a dolt story, it contains great amount of humor. The food at bistro differs from anything you can eat here in the neighborhood: it is simpler than closest competitors have and perhaps, not that technological. And that is a certain advantage for us. Zotov does not try to swagger or demonstrate highest technologies. It is rather a taste masquerade. Dmitry seems to tell us: “I am a restaurateur already, no doubt, but sometimes I can be a scamp”. And asks not to take food too seriously. It is true that from time to time you want to fill yourself with something tasty not thinking too much while doing it. That is the thing for which you need to go here.
Every gourmand says “restaurant” but thinks “chef”. Ilya Shalev’s personality is unique for the Moscow landscape. He has a real western biography behind his back. Le Cordon Bleu. London. Michelin. USA. Success. Failures. And a certain triumph in Ragout restaurant. Yes, sir Shalev’s activity was produced by Alexey Zimin. But it were Ilya’s hands that forged notorious “gastronomic revolution”. At Skolkovo Golf Club chic exterior of the best golf club will await you and interior by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, and all of this – multiplied by money (and taste) of Roman Abramovich. Menu is compiled of well tried Ragout hits. At the first part breakfasts and burgers are represented. You should, no doubt, order Shakshuk and shawarma with chicken in a pita or fried oatmeal with chocolate and burger “Skolkovo”. In the main menu: yellow fish curry of the three species of fish with poached egg and rice. Scallop tartare with mousse of white chocolate sauce. Cream of pumpkin soup with green apple and curry. Fish soup in Marseilles style can be taken as a sample for soups. And in a mandatory program – pates and terrines. That is where beef tartare will be, as well as chicken liver pate, Gascon terrine with plums in brandy and onion chutney. If you have not called Uber yet, you can do it now. To enter the restaurant you need to notify about your visit first, because there are only around 20 seats. If you miss Ragout cuisine of the very first generation and want to refresh your memory, you can do it here at first-hand.
Sooner or later such a restaurant had to appear on VDNKh that is rapidly getting prettier and playing carefully with soviet aesthetic codes. When a café announces that it has a Soviet Socialist sisters cuisine, you have a headache already awaiting for senseless and merciless Talmud. But no, there are only two pages – and that is without small handwriting. Olyutor herring in announced here dressed – the dish is set out as rolls, wrapped in mashed potatoes – meaning that the dressing is turned inside out. Satsivi turkey with slices of crispy fried hominy (which is called polenta here) is not bad, despite being warm, and the sauce tastes like original, cooked, not like its raw brother Baje that is usually used in Moscow to cook poultry with. For the Russian salad pastrami is used that has become trendy because of its warm smoked flavor; I need to state, it fitted just well. They have dodged borscht that seemed unavoidable, but they gave its Karelian donut to a creamy soup with trout. Beef stroganoff is called layer cake with beef Stroganoff here – apparently, because it is served in a pot under the layer of dough. It is a spicy-sour mess of thin beef straws, onion, mustard, sour cream, pickles and mashed potatoes. It is rather problematic to come here specially, but in the context of some leisure scenarios this restaurant is clearly indispensable. To take a visiting expat on VDNKh and not to feed him for the twentieth time at “Dr. Zhivago” or “Pushkin”. Fat dinner after bike riding. Taking grandma for a walk. To drink with old university pals. All in all, tons of useful uses. Besides, the location is the best of all possible.
Ambitious White Rabbit Family knows that, now matter how full one’s pockets are, any mortal is weak for luxury. It is luxury and status that all projects of the holding count on, and the new one is not an exception. The main character in Mushrooms is – his Blackness truffle. Menu will suit both for ladies, caring about healthy lifestyle, and for their gentlemen drinking vodka. You can choose a classic way – pasta and cream sauce, or a dietary one, or you can also order pickled mushrooms and potato salad platter. Drawing an analogy of a football team, where are 11 players, then the starting XI would be Italians. The “Truffle menu” unit would perform as center players: pizza, pasta, ravioli and risotto. On the left flank plays a set of appetizers, soups and carpaccio. “The Whites” closes the game – the department played by the Russians entirely. Wood mushrooms with eggplants is a good start, they crunch moderately sweet, mushrooms, however, are very recherché. Tomato carpaccio is a classics at the level of «Il Lago dei Cigni». Carpaccio of porcini mushrooms – as far as such a dish could have been cooked at all – they cooked. Consider it local Beckham. Risotto with lamb –is as reliable as a goalkeeper Yashin. Concerning vibrant midfielders (who hold everything in football): persimmon with goat cheese and burrata with pear. The best hitters of «Exotic» section – halibut with wood mushrooms (nice dietary halibut) and hearty tuna with straw mushroom. What is for soups, all of them are great, but the best of them is classic cream-soup with porcini mushrooms. By the way, you can add truffle to any dish, and there’s plenty of scenarios. However, truffle entrance causes some awkwardness. It is endured on a giant tray in a glass cap and placed next to you. Just for your information.
Touché wine bar & kitchen
Touché is a child of one of the diligent graduates of the Ragout cooking school. Having finished every possible course, Larisa Mamedova does not, however, stand behind the oven herself, but has entrusted the responsibility to Taras Kiriyenko – Alexey Zimin’s student and a chef of a wonderful Ragout bar. You can trust him, indeed. First of all, reliable food. Larisa and Taras have decided to choose another way. It can be said that there are only starters and desserts in the menu. There are only three main courses: meat, fish and poultry. What fish and what meat, depends on what nice is brought. Second of all, nice wine list – 250 positions, 25 half bottles, nearly 30 are to be poured in glasses. Beef tartare is fine – without excess self-expression which they love so much in Moscow. Cool Buratti with warm ratatouille of baked vegetables – it is a right temperature difference: Buratti emphasizes the taste of vegetables, vegetables help to reveal the taste of cheese. Arancini with crab and aioli – sweet crab tenderness has been added to a simple snack. Trademark broccoli with bacon and cheese, tactfully called “hard” in the menu looks like an alternative Caesar, anchovies in the sauce are quite in place, but the cabbage is cooked al dente. In the pike perch ceviche with mango and mashed sweet potatoes Peruvian sour-sweet taste does not kill the fish, but cooperates with it. All in all, we can say that Touché is woven without great allusions, gently and lovingly. And it deserves to go here intentionally.
The new restaurant by Adrean Quetglas is very different from anything we are used to see made by him. The restaurant is announced to be single-product. And it turned out that chicken is incredibly actable material! Not having a strongly marked taste, it can pretend to be anything. Ketglas, masterfully using her compliance, just like Pygmalion, creates his Galatea. The menu is a composition in five acts, where the main role is always given to the favorite, but it is not a farce, and certainly not a drama. This is a good anthology of documentary stories from around the world. India is a sweet tandoori chicken with vegetables with mint-yogurt sauce. France is a wonderful, nourishing consomme. Vietnam is a sharp-sweet spicy broth with peppers and chicken meatballs. Ukraine is “AQ-burger” that is nothing else but chicken Kiev. There is a rooster in the Chinese style, and salad with rice noodles and chicken in sweet and sour sauce. Asian branch of the profile would do a credit to any restaurant. We found the best bunyuelos with cockerel meat, cream cheese and grape vinaigrette and tiradito of smoked chicken with avocado and mango – the last is a killer! Strictly speaking, each of the 15 positions was delicious. Not a single dish even look ambiguous. It would be unfair to speak only about Adrian. He is, no doubt, an honorable person, but nevertheless he goes to a “party leader” format step by step. His faithful Padawan Andrei Zhdanov is the one who is in charge of the daily implementation. If AQ Kitchen allows him to approach levers and shows him to the general public, it means that he has nailed down the success in the chicken project. And, apparently, is ready to emerge from the shadow of his Jedi.