Sophisticated Savva, Moscow

Restaurant: Savva, Moscow
Location: Metropol Hotel, Метрополь, Teatral’nyy Proyezd, 2, Moskva, Russia, 109012
Chef: Andrey Shmakov
Cuisine: Fine Dining traditional Russian Cuisine

It being Christmas in Moscow with the temperature outside sitting at a cool -4 degrees C, the Foodie Mookie crew choose local Russian cuisine for lunch. Nothing like some strong rich Russian flavour to drive out the chill left from braving a veritable snow storm on the walk from the Crew’s hotel to the restaurant.  Housed in the Moscow Metropol motel and named after the hotel’s founder, Savva Mamontov, this restaurant was the highlight of Pookie’s Russian dining tour. The snow floating down outside on Christmas day, the modern and simply luxurious interiors and the quality of the service set the scene for what was surprisingly traditional but sumptuously good Russian set menu lunch.

Brand chef Andrey Shmakov (ex Noma, Chez Dominique) comes recommended by the Crew’s Australian chef friend  as being both a genuinely nice guy as well as a great chef. His Estonian roots and Scandinavian cuisine experience holds him in good stead in this transition to festive Russian cuisine, the Russian Set menu being Andrey’s expression of what is iconic in Russian cuisine.

The Russian Set starts with starts and ends with flavoured vodka – horse radish to start and honey to finish. Both are home made and well received given the snowfall outside. After a traditional starter and the ubiquitous caviar and blini (all tasty) we progress to pike pelmeni (dumpling) in a champagne sauce with… yes you guessed it, more caviar. The dumplings were parcels of warm fishy goodness. Borsch Metropol follows with chunks of chicken, adding to both flavour and texture. Blacksea grey mullet and beef tenderloin and rib for the mains, well presented and flavoured dishes both. The crispiness on the skin of the mullet a textural offset the Smetana sauce with dill oil, creamy and oily. All dishes are well presented. All the courses are well paced, not the norm in most the Moscow restaurants the Foodie Mookie crew have visited.

Whilst the menu is traditional Russian (vorshmack, caviar, blinis, pelmeni, honey cake), it is within the finer touches that the Crew find sublime excellence. The slightly crisp note on the blini with the unctuous softness of the quails egg that accompany the caviar, the freshness of the duck/herring force meat smeared across the sweetness of the rye cut through by the horseradish in the vodka. It is in the finer touches that the quality of the ingredients and talent of the chef truly shine through. Savva is definitely worth a visit if you are in Moscow.

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