Tag Archives: American girl in Moscow

Gorky Park, Moscow

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On my last day in Moscow, I could think of nothing better than an afternoon in the park. After a lolling mosey through the side streets of the radial Tverskya Ulitsa, I grabbed a light lunch at Nadalny Vostok, part of the monopoloid Novikov portfolio.

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Nadalny Vostok

Nadalny Vostok

Fresh seafood

Fresh seafood

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Crab salad with poached quail's eggs

Crab salad with poached quail’s eggs

Salmon sashimi | avocado | spicy ponzu sauce

Salmon sashimi | avocado | spicy ponzu sauce

Sugar black cod

Sugar black cod

Lobster claw tempura

Lobster claw tempura

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Fresh cherries!

Fresh cherries!

Then it was off to Gorky Park for a walkabout. The Soviets put up a monumental Brandenburg Gate-ish entrance. More recently, Roman Abromovich has pumped millions into the redevelopment of the park – restaurants, attractions, even a huge concert stage. They brought in the test unit for the Soviet space shuttle Boran next to the river – you can rent a go-kart from underneath its wing.

Gorky Park entrance

Gorky Park entrance

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Babushka dolls

Babushka dolls

Buran, Soviet space shuttle test unit

Buran, Soviet space shuttle test unit

Drinks in Gorky Park

Drinks in Gorky Park

A laid back end to the weekend, lounging in the open-air restaurant – beats rainy old London for a change!

Moscow Kremlin

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After such a big night, I got off to a late start on my second day in Moscow. Feeling creaky, I popped into Schastye cafe for a rich cup of “happiness” and a cheesy croissant.

pereulok Kamergerskiy

pereulok Kamergerskiy

Schastye

Schastye

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Then it was straight to the Kremlin – do not pass go, do not collect $200 – where I wondered Red Square and got a little giddy when I saw the colorful bulbous domes of the iconic Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

Saint Basil's Cathedral

Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Lenin's Tomb

Lenin’s Tomb

GUM

GUM

GUM is the most elegant shopping galleria in Moscow – packed with luxury boutiques such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Kenzo – but if it’s value you’re after, fugetaboutit! You won’t need to travel the globe much further to find a bigger rip-off, but it is the place for purely voyeuristic window-shopping and a moment to unwind over a cappuccino at one of the many grand cafes.

Cafe Pushkin on Tverskoy Boulevard is one of the best ways to experience the pre-Soviet sophistication and opulence of Russian dining. There were so many little details to take in over lunch – the candlelit dining room, the waiters in traditional dress, the adorable little girl in a white taffeta gown at the table next to us daintily eating a raspberry creme brulee.

Cafe Pushkin

Cafe Pushkin

Pelmeni (dumplings) stuffed with salmon

Pelmeni (dumplings) stuffed with salmon

Mushrooms a la pulet | mix of white mushrooms, champignons, chanterelles baked in a sour-cream sauce

Mushrooms a la pulet | mix of white mushrooms, champignons, chanterelles baked in a sour-cream sauce

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Confectionery Pushkin

Confectionery Pushkin

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That evening we dined at the most darling little place called Khachapuri, a Georgian city cafe. The service was the warmest I experienced in Moscow, and we had a lovely little candlelit table outside on the patio.

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No photos of the food, I’m afraid but I recommend:

Khachapuri with cheese and fresh greens, Champignon mushroom caps baked with Suluguni cheese, Georgian pickles, and Satsivi with chicken

A very relaxed and civilized second day in Moscow!

From Russia with Love

I have been forever curious about life behind the red curtain, being such a long-time admirer of Russian art, food, and culture. I have always associated Russia with its pre-Soviet history so full of splendor. A few years ago I worked on an exhibition of Kremlin treasures and was bowled over by the lavish diplomatic gifts exchanged between the Russian tzars and Iranian and Turkish ambassadors in the 16th and 17th centuries. These days, London is full of Russians and it’s no secret how over-the-top and ostentatious they can be – I was expecting lots and lots of glitz and bling. So I packed the most dazzling designer frocks I could rummage from my wardrobe and grabbed my passport for Moscow!

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I arrived at Moscow Domodedovo in the afternoon and went for a quick post-flight snack at a breezy terraced Georgian restaurant, Jonjoli in the Tverskaya district. Got hooked early on the signature dish, khachapuri – doughy bread filled with suluguni cheese.

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After a quick change, my friends and I headed out for an evening at Manon, a cafe/restaurant that morphs into a club when it gets late. River views of Moscow glittered in the pale pink evening glow, as we sipped bubbly at our cushy sofa table on the terrace.

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We finished dinner and arrived at Soho Rooms just before midnight. This was an opulent night spot dotted with glittering bars, lithe lingerie-clad models swaying solicitously in the window wells, and a house singer grooving on stage in the main room as gold ticker tape showered from above.

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The vodka was flowing, the music was passable – it was just the crowd that put me off a bit. Lots of leering men making little to no effort to disguise their creepiness, and gobs of young, beautiful, single women in the prime of their lives looking utterly miserable. The resounding attitude here was overtly misogynistic, and frankly, I was disappointed. When I go out, I want to look around and see everyone around me throwing their heads back with laughter, tossing inhibitions aside – not judiciously surveying one another for a mutually beneficial arrangement. Ewww!

Counting on Day 2 of this city to be a little bit more enlightening, or I’ll be back in another heartless bar like this surrounded by the same numb Moscow mules…