Thursday, October 25, 2018

Beyond Borscht

Russian cuisine in London. From The Spectator:
If the idea of Baltic herrings muffled in beetroot sounds a little too authentic, there are places which straddle the East-West divide. Bob Bob Ricard in Soho is one of them. Bob Bob Ricard rolls with a much loucher crowd than Stolle and on the inside looks a little like Baz Luhrmann’s Deco rendering of Gatsby Manor. The food, which seeks to find common ground between Russian and western European cooking, is nice if not spectacular. What you pay for is the trimmings, which include a personal champagne button at every table. You might say it’s gauche. In certain quarters of Moscow’s richest districts, it’s the new authentic. Across town, on the edge of London Fields, is Zakuski, which on Saturdays sells a range of flavoursome and reworked Russian salads from a stall in Broadway Market, as well as catering for events. The word zakuski is normally translated into English as ‘starter’, but for Russians it is something closer to the Swedish idea of a smorgasbord, whereby one takes a little from a range of hot and cold dishes. Salads play a starring role in many Russian smorgasbords and the stall serves the best of them, along with a few fusion variants. On a recent visit I had a salad with beetroot, walnut and prune and another with aubergine, tahini and garlic. (Read more.)

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