Infamous for empty supermarket shelves and grim eateries towards the end of the Soviet Union, Moscow will see some of its restaurants awarded their first post-Soviet Michelin stars later on Thursday in an event that recognises a culinary renaissance.
In a ceremony at a concert hall close to the Kremlin, France’s prestigious Michelin restaurant guide will unveil its first selection of Moscow restaurants deemed worthy of its coveted stars, three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union.
“The Russian culinary scene has seen some new trends emerge over the past 30 years, embodied by talented chefs who are devoted to highlighting the quality of local products such as Vladivostok king crab, Borodinsky bread, halibut from Murmansk, and smetana, the sour cream used in preparing beef stroganoff,” Michelin said in a statement ahead of its launch.
“They also celebrate vegetables and fragrant herbs that give lively, authentic flavour to dishes that are favourites among gourmets, including rassolnik (meat or fish soup with pickled cucumbers) and borscht (beetroot soup) in all its delectable forms.
“Revered as the bible of gastronomy and known for its exacting standards, Michelin published its first guide in 1900 and said in its statement that it had been active in Russia before the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.
“This is a new era for the Russian restaurant industry,” Russian restaurant expert Gennady Josefavichus told Reuters. “Before, our restaurant industry existed in some vacuum. We were assessing ourselves and applauding ourselves. But now, we will have a worldwide famous system which works in many countries.
“Some restaurants in the Russian capital have already earned international recognition. Moscow’s “White Rabbit” and “Twins Garden” restaurants are named in “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list.
“White Rabbit” enjoys panoramic views of Moscow and specialises in using Russian ingredients offering diners dishes such as baked cabbage with caviar. “Twins Garden” offers what it calls a “symbiosis of science and nature” sourcing products from its own farm.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has said he hopes the arrival of the Michelin guide will help attract more tourists.
The first Michelin restaurant guide, published by the tire company of the same name, was aimed at drivers in the early days of motoring. The star-rating system was introduced in the 1920s.