24hr Fine Dining – Cafe Pushkin
Restaurant: Cafe Pushkin
Location: Tverskoy Boulevard, 26А, Moskva, Russia, 125009
Cuisine: Fine Dining, traditional Russian
After a night at the highly acclaimed Bolshoi Ballet, the Foodie Mookie crew hit the cold streets of Moscow’s heart in search of food. We had been advised by the hotel concierge that Cafe Pushkin, 10 minutes walk away, was open
24 hours. The ‘cafe’ in name is quite deceptive, as upon entry it is revealed to be a fine dining restaurant offrench influence Russian cuisine. The restaurant itself was referenced in ‘Natalie’, a song written by famous french singer Gilbert Becaud. Little did his french audience know, that Cafe Pushkin did not exist at the time of the songs creation. The name inspired Andrei Dellos, artist and restaurateur to make Cafe Pushkin a reality.
Cafe Pushkin’s kitchen is headed by Russian chef Andrei Makhov who has been head chef of the restaurant since its beginning in 1999. The restaurant houses four different sections. The pharmacy hall holds an open spaced section of the restaurant whilst the fireplace hall is more suited as a private function room. The library and mezzanine levels hold further standard restaurant seating whilst retaining an array of books from the original library. The terrace holds a more casual style dining atop the building looking onto the streets of Moscow – a little cold at this time of year. The Foodie Mookie crew settles into the Library.
The menu is a modern rendition of the dishes that would have been a part of Pushkin’s time. The crew started the night with various entrees. Mookie had a beetroot salad to start which unfortunately lacked on its central ingredient but had an excess of sprats (a small fish similar to an anchovy), the salad which filled the entire plate was overall a disappointing attempt at using beetroot which has a uniquely sweet but earthy flavour. Pookie had a more exciting and inspired dish with the trio of smoked fish, a rather beautiful presentation of the ingredients with the alfalfa that came with it were surprisingly a good choice.
For myself, I had a green salad with fresh tomatoes, sheep cheese and tomato sorbet. The ingredients came together quite well but the addition of tomato sorbet was unnecessary and took away from the dish. For mains; Mookie had beef stroganov with pickles, tomatoes and potato, the dish was sticky, and the plating was hospital style with segmented sections, certainly not worthy of a fine dining restaurant. Pookie had arctic sturgeon which was quite firm, the potato base was not necessary for the dish. I had sea bass with potato, the potato came with a cream sauce, in my personal opinion, creamy sauces should not be matched with white fish due to the subtle flavour of the fish, by itself however, the fish had a nice flavour.
Cafe Pushkin was a pleasant experience. A fine dining establishment open 24 hours is certainly a drawcard – the service is very good, matched by the prices on the menu. The food could be changed slightly to highlight the main ingredient of the dish more.