Slowly but surely, Moscow is shaking off its reputation for dour and unimaginative cuisine.
One of the most recent salvos, Door 19, involved a rotating cast of young international chefs cooking in a temporary loft space paired with, this being Russia after all, a book of lethal cocktails presided over by mixologist Andreas Tsanos (ex-Hix and Sketch in London).
A second pop-up has opened on Pozharsky Lane within spitting distance of the grandiose Cathedral of Christ the Saviour above an Italian family restaurant.
15, named after the street number, will feature a new chef once every three months. Hitting the first ball is French chef Jerome Rohmer whose light Spanish-inflected menu of octopus, grilled scallops and marlin tataki is the perfect foil for the rugged yet nuanced mint-hued interiors by Moscow-based PH.D. The by-now ubiquitous industrial swatch of raw exposed concrete columns and ceilings and ventilation vents is balanced by unexpected hits of pop art by Russian artists Crocodile Power, a white marble and brass bar, and chrome lamps encased in fish baskets.
Meanwhile, Tsanos whips up a batch of 15 cocktails powered by everything from wheatgrass wine, lime leaf dust and jasmine to bee pollen, wormwood and liquorice egg yolks.