With the Mueller collusion investigation heating up, and Donald Trump antagonizing London mayor Sadiq Khan, we couldn’t think of a better plan than hopping a flight to Blighty’s capital to indulge in some of the city’s best Russian restaurants – which is definitely a thing, since a large expat population has some Londoners referring to Blighty’s capital as “Moscow on the Thames.”
We turned to our partners at Urbanologie for their expertise on the subject.
Laden with extraordinary attention to detail and elaborately decorated, this quaint (shabby chic) restaurant immediately transports you into an archetypal Russian home adorned with the iconic Russian Bear, stacking dolls and Cheburashka, bookshelves filled with Russian literature and elaborate chandeliers. Following the success of Mari Vanna in St Petersburg, Moscow and New York – the London outpost (opened in 2009) is well positioned in the heart of Knighsbridge and on the doorstep of Hyde Park. The restaurant offers “babushka cooking” – traditional homely fare – with influences from Armenia, Georgia and Uzbekistan and with a contemporary style. Mari Vanna really invokes the feel of an old Russian home and the theme continues through to the menu, which features classic such as borscht – beetroot soup with beef – and well as Olivier salad and beef stroganoff with buckwheat.
A venture from Russian chef Alexei Zimin that combines Russian street food and drink in a kitsch speakeasy-style atmosphere. Zima occupies the basement of a Grade-II listed townhouse on Frith Street in Soho, right next door to the legendary Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. For the interior ‘think Russian dacha and Soviet-era ryumochnaya (vodka bar)’ – adorned with slogan-and-symbol-embossed propaganda porcelain. The site is the first venture for Zimin outside Russia, and combines street and gourmet food in an array of tapas-style dishes featuring classic ingredients from all corners of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Dishes are prepared around ingredients such as sturgeon, herring, scallops, crab, venison and, of course, caviar. As well as food there are Russian beers like Siberian Crown, and cocktails using vodka infusions flavoured with fennel & tarragon; basil & strawberry and lingonberry & apple with curry leaves. Well-known in Russia, Zimin runs his own restaurant and cookery school, Ragout, in Moscow.
This glamorous and very opulent Russian restaurant is perfect for a trip out of the ordinary. The menu is a mix of British and Russian dishes made with unrestrained creativity and a wide variety of luxury ingredients. Expect starters served with vodka shots (chilled to -18C), and every table is furnished with a ‘Press for Champagne’ button, enabling the restaurant to boast the widely coveted ‘most champagne poured at a restaurant in the UK’ title. The eclectic design of the interior is a stand out feature, distinguishing it with marble tabletops, colourful leather upholstery and gold accents. The dining area is separated between the Blue Dining Room (designed by David Collins and inspired by the Orient Express) and the Red Dining Room (with oriental patterns and backgammon motifs in the centre). There are no individual tables but booths, making the place almost reminiscent of an American-style diner. A new City outpost, Bob Bob Cite, is expected to open shortly – with the kitchen overseen by Eric Chavot, formerly of Brasserie Chavot, and the menu features signature Bob Bob dishes with added twists.
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