“Bolshoi” Restaurant. Russian cuisine European-style
Lyubov Shakhovskaya, Xenia Lyashenko
“Bolshoi” Restaurant is a project by famous restaurateur Arkady Novikov, who recently presented this first high-end restaurant of Russian cuisine to the city. By all appearances, it is doomed to become a Moscow showplace and a Mecca for Russian gourmets and foreigners who take interest in this country, because national cuisine is a key to a better understanding of national culture. The restaurant is situated close to the Bolshoi Theater on the corner of Kuznetsky Most and Petrovka Street. The restaurant matches the spirit of the time and has really stunning art contents where there is a place for the conservative Ralph Lauren style, for emotional paintings by modern artists such as Dietrich Klinge, Isabel Munoz, Georgy Puzenkov, Juan Hernandez Pijuan, Pierre Soulages and Antoni Tapies as well as for contemporary “chamber” jazz performed by Sergei Belov. Thus an inimitable atmosphere is created, ideal for private chats, business summits and dinner parties. The sum and substance of any restaurant is its cuisine. Restaurant “Bolshoi” can be righteously proud of it. Its Executive Chef Kamel Benama , awarded with a dozen of Michelin stars, is a renowned specialist who worked in France, the United Kingdom and Morocco. In 2005, his fate brought him to Russia where he became chef of “Vanil” Restaurant. Since the opening of “Bolshoi,” Benamar has been supervising kitchen crews in both restaurants. Talking to VIP-Premier reporters, Benamar noted that upon graduation from a Grenoble college he was lucky to start his career and hone his culinary taste under the guidance of Pierre Gagnaire, one of the best chefs in France.
– Monsieur Benamar, how would you define the “Bolshoi” cuisine?
– First and foremost, it is the so-called Russian cuisine with dishes long familiar to the Russians: borsch, satsivi, shashlyk, pelmeni and chicken Tabaka. All those meals are in high demand with our guests. Russians are rather conservative in their attitude to meals: they prefer simple food with a lot of meat. We take this into account in our main menu: veal pelmeni according to recipes from the Urals, beef stroganoff and so on. Seafood is also in demand and it comes to our menu from four seas.
– What is typical for the menu this season?
– We have introduced a lightened version of a business-lunch to save guests’ time: a fixed price set of two courses from the set menu, for example a vegetable salad with egg and bacon and a French Bavette Cut steak with wine and shallot sauce and French fries. The set goes together with a glass of red or white wine. The main menu is more diversified, including many French dishes such as Mediterranean scallop tartar, asparagus salad, cheeses, foie gras with grape or pinecone syrup. Originally, pinecone syrup was served only with tea but its acerbity turned out to be good for foie gras emphasizing its delicacy and adding lightness. The main menu also includes a lot of hot and cold appetizers: meat, fish and vegetable carpaccio, various salads, soups and seafood including the marvelous “Plateau on Ice” from Kamchatka crabs, French oysters, langoustines, escargots, Canadian lobsters and royal shrimps.
– Do you have a favorite Russian dish?
– Yes I do, it is “herring under a fur coat” aka dressed herring, but in order to add piquancy I would recommend replacing mayonnaise with cucumber brine.
– How often do you change the menu?
– The menu rotation today and tomorrow vastly depends on visitors’ preferences. Every season we are glad to follow the voice of our guests. We have developed and introduced the “lightened” summer menu: okroshka, sorrel soup, a lot of greens and, of course, berry desserts, especially strawberry desserts, a special pride of Novikov’s restaurant chain. We generally try to lighten even familiar courses. For example, we make borsch without potatoes or replace mayonnaise with healthier olive oil.
Prices have also become lighter: throughout the working week from noon till 6 p.m. the 20-percent discount is effective.
We pay special attention to desserts. Sweet dishes are on display right at the entrance to the restaurant and a guest may take to his plate a piece of his favorite sweet dish. The sweet board also reflects preferences of the Russians: Prague, Napoleon (made according to new recipes) and Bird’s Milk cakes, apple pie, a variety of sponge cakes, hand-made chocolates filled with cognac, small pies and tarts. Every day from 3 p.m. till 6 p.m. the restaurant offers a Tea Time, which has become traditional for many our guests. For just 500 rubles a visitor may enjoy tea from a genuine Tula samovar and try various delicacies from the sweet board approaching it as many times as he wants.
Another novelty concerns the restaurant’s Wine Card: our nightly winoteque opens at 6 p.m. offering free wine and snack testing. Wine is a very special product that needs separate attention. A more than 400-item collection of wines and other liquors is a special pride of the restaurant. A selected wine could be ordered for dinner and is available for take-away at a good price. Besides, the wine steward provides interesting information about the restaurant’s rich choice of wines that would expand your knowledge of the subject.
The exquisite menu of “Bolshoi” based on chef’s aesthetics, French delicacy and Russian traditions together with its inimitable atmosphere have undoubtedly conquered the affection of the majority of gourmets in the Russian capital. Moscow has quite a variety of eateries that offer primarily traditional Russian meals. But their pseudo-Russian style often seems “de trop” and out-of-date. Visiting “Bolshoi” you see for yourself that an idea to create an exquisite European restaurant of Georgian style with elements of modern arts, a restaurant combining modern Russian cuisine with French cooking techniques, has been successfully realized giving a zest to Moscow club life.
Address: Bld. 2, 3/6 Petrovka Street
To book a table, call + 7 (495) 789 86 52