Zima’s background in journalism and food, along with attending an immersive course a La Cordon Bleu, and training with Michel Guerard and Raymond Blanc, led him to return to Moscow to launch Eda magazine and website eda.ru through which he is credited with changing the way Russians eat. In 2010, he opened Ragout, a stylish restaurant combining Russian traditional food with French haute cuisine and later a cookery school of the same name. Zima is his first project outside Russia.
Next up was a selection of vodka based cocktails, all £9, including my two favourites Sex in Siberia with kiwi liquor, and, the star of the night, Zima Beets; a deep purple beetroot based cocktail made with pear infused vodka, lemon and agave, so good I just had to have another just to make sure. Delicious, yet lethal.
The daily changing Samizdat style menu, presented in a folder, is in English and Russian. Samizdat was format of underground dissident publications in the Soviet Union resembling reproduced typescript, neatly recalling, although probably unintentionally, mirroring roneo printed Soho pornography publications of the 1950s. While perusing the menu I squeezed in a Baltika No 6; a rich, dark full flavoured beer, malty and strong weighing in at a rather muscular 6%.
My teeth were already beginning to float on a rising tsunami of vodka when, thankfully, the starters arrived. A deep bowl of Krasnodar beetroot borscht made with beef stock, celery and topped with sour cream along with rye bread on the side, £5. Absolutely gorgeous, I love beetroot in any form but this eastern European staple never fails to disappoint. Some Zakuski, cold starters, followed including, Russian Olivier salad topped chives luscious sour cream, £6.50.
The main was the Zima signature beef stroganoff with a rich dark creamy sauce, topped with ceps mushrooms and served with crushed new potatoes. Fabulously fresh and tender, with the mushrooms adding an intense nuttiness to the dish. Simple food, well presented in generous portions which will ensure you won’t be leaving hungry. Zima specialises in classic regional Russian dishes with his gourmet twist and others mains included, slow cooked lambs tongue, Beef and venison dumplings, traditional fish soup and sturgeon fillets. I would certainly like to go back and sample some of Salmon and Herring dishes too, which all the Baltic countries do so well.
Dessert was a traditional Kartoshka cake a hard golf ball of sugar and chocolate capable reviving the most comatose hyperglycemic.
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