You had to come hungry for this one
by anna Timokhovitch

On this night, we parked easily for a change, not usual for central Moscow. We made our way to 10 Tverskoy bulvar, where fairy light filled windows with green shutters and little fir trees greeted us at the entrance.

I had been trying to imagine the decor all the way there. I mean what does a Russian Pub look like? There's a lot of Irish, English pubs all around Moscow, the design is similar - all dark wood, quirky music and sports memorabilia. Would the Russian Pub concept copy? Or go the kitsch route with ubiquitous matryoshkas, bears and balalaikas?

It didn't do either. Picture a sleek Birchwood bark bar, it's counter filled with cylinders of various forms and colours - their home-made tinctures.The pub was buzzing, most of its bar tables, booths and square tables were filled up with young professionals sipping on craft beers and designer cocktails. An unusual feature was the 'banki' (jars) lights on the ceiling casting a cozy glow on their customers. If you're Russian then you've been watching your mom and granny make preserves in those jars your whole life. A nice homely touch.
Our coats were promptly taken and a friendly staff member whisked us away to our 20 seater dinner table in an adjoining room. The dinner guests were an eclectic mix of foreigners and locals, and the seating arrangements made it convenient to chat to at least 10 people around you.

3 tinctures - cranberry, cherry and horseradish (220rub) got the evening going as we were bombarded by a never ending stream of bite sized tasters, one after another.

Fried Georgian suluguni cheese with plum zvar starter was moreish (470rub).

And by unanimous decision, the Byelorussian shrimp with Japanese horseradish (570rub) are a clear winner on this menu. Yummy!

I got a taste of both the simmered Karachay lamb (610rub), which was hearty and tender, and the duck leg with buckwheat (710rub), lacking a bit in flavour. The two vegetarians seated with us eating the buckwheat with mushrooms main, found it to be a disappointing dish and rather bland. This spurred on a recipe swop on the ideal vegetarian buckwheat dish. Wine and conversation flowing our evening ended off with a memorable tangy Plum Baba with creamy vanilla ice cream (310rub).
Alexey Semyonov, the vikingesque man with a big laugh is the chef of both the Russian Pub and Reka Restaurant, has studied and worked at a number of prestigious European culinary schools. His dishes reflect his passion for food and are a blend of Russian classics, with a dash of French or Italian finesse. Unfortunately, I missed the beginning of the night where he pickled fish for one of the starters, but he caught me on the way to the bathroom, thinking that I'm off for a smoke. "Grab our fur coat" he boomed, I thanked him and told him I have my own, "Not like this one you don't!", he laughed. Indeed, for smoking guests there's valenki and a sheepskin 'tulup' to brave the Moscow winter.

There's something for everyone on this menu. The concept and vision of the Russian Pub has been thoroughly thought through from the unique design to the local craft beer selection and the pickled fish. Long live fusion a la Russe!
Russian Pub
Address: Tverskoy bulvar, 10/1