Food Experts Choice: Darya Tsivina

Exploring the highlights of the modern Russian dining scene, Darya Tsivina, a well-known restaurateur, picks her top 5 Russian dishes

By Federal Agency for Tourism

Darya Tsvilina (21st Century)Federal Agency for Tourism

Darya Tsivina brings 28 years of experience to restaurant business and shares her expertise in her Marmit.Food & Money Telegram channel. Since 1992, she edited the food critique column for the Kommersant and hosted two seasons of the Russian version of Hell's Kitchen. 

Darya believes herself a student of the Russian gastronomic culture, and strives to promote it when developing or implementing restaurant projects, designing menus with chefs or writing reviews. Darya’s favourites feature traditional Russian ingredients from caviar, fish and dough to eggs, vegetables and berries. 

Still, her selection is not classical Russian cuisine, and her dining picks are not your usual tourist attractions. Darya focuses on real modern-day cuisine that knows no borders or boundaries and prefers original takes on traditional recipes with a European flavour.

Brioche with crab Olivier salad (21st Century)Federal Agency for Tourism

Brioche with Crab Olivier Salad

«Ра’ Shoot»

A great influence on Russia’s 19th- and 20th-century food culture, French cuisine is adroitly exploited by Russian chefs to this day. One of them, Yevgeny Meshcheryakov, came up with his own variety of the Olivier salad that offers a surprise of a poached egg in hollandaise sauce.

Brioche with crab Olivier salad (21st Century)Federal Agency for Tourism

Inspired by the heart-melting Russian January 1 custom of breakfasting on Oliver leftovers fresh out of the fridge and garnished with a little piece of bread, Meshcheryakov serves his salad cold on a warm brioche. His special is big on pickles, and thus a match for brut champagne, another regular on Russians’ start-of-the-year morning menu. 

Ravioli with zander and salmon (21st Century)Federal Agency for Tourism

Ravioli with Zander and Salmon

Ravioli with zander and salmon filling is chef Alexander Railian’s modern exploration of the traditional Russian dumplings, which, unlike their Italian counterparts, sometimes do feature fish.

The filling is further smoothed by strachatella, and while fennel and the classical bermonte sauce add a French-themed palate, an unorthodox mix of red and pike caviar with sushi tsume sauce give the whole affair a Russian finishing touch. This original dish transcends national traditions as a statement of gastronomic globalisation. Ravioli with zander and salmon are, without a doubt, an international creation.

Restaurant "Ot i Do" (21st Century)Federal Agency for Tourism

Ukha with Sterlet

"Ot i Do"
The chief gourmet delight at Ot i Do on Moscow’s Cheremushkinsky Market are Vladimir Region's Black Angus beef steaks. There is, however, another culinary gem. Ukha with smoked sterlet, grilled potatoes, carrots, zucchini and celery is, in my opinion, the best modern version of this traditional Russian dish. 

Ukha with sterlet (21st Century)Federal Agency for Tourism

Sterlet, after all, isn’t that easy to cook. Roasted and combined with grilled vegetables, it is allowed to retain its shape and texture while gaining an alluring smell of smoke, which evokes the Russian tradition of dipping a burning campfire stick into the newly made ukha.  

Edamame beans bring freshness and solidness to the chef’s concept as well as to its taste.

Crème brûlée (21st Century)Federal Agency for Tourism

Crème Brulee with Buckthorn

"Ruski"

These are greetings to France sent from the 85th floor of Moscow City's tallest skyscraper that houses Ruski and a real traditional Russian stove it is famous for.

Ruski may offer borscht, pelmeny, and pirozhki, but it is this delicate dessert with a fine taste balance that is high up on my list of modern Russian culinary gems. This crème brulee is a stunning discovery by chef Alexander Volkov-Medvedev who has woven the Russian buckthorn berry into a traditional French dessert. 

Anna Pavlova (21st Century)Federal Agency for Tourism

Anna Pavlova

"Unico"
A “Pavlova” is a New Zealand or Australian (not a Russian) invention produced when the Russian ballet great toured down under. Its exclusively light ingredients include meringues, whipped cream and berries. The name is believed to have come from an excited exclamation — ‘It’s as light as Pavlova herself’ — uttered by a guest after he first savoured the novel dessert.

Today, the dessert is often too sweet and not so light. However, Unico, the wine bar on Moscow’s Usachevsky Market, offers one of the city’s most ethereal “Pavlovas” with delicate merengue, whipped yoghurt cream and a rich portion of fresh forest berries on top. 

Credits: Story

Сhief Сonsultant — Ekaterina Drozdova, restaurateur, gastronomic entrepreneur, food and social activist, Photo production — tm agency, Contributors — Darya Tsivina, Proximity Russia, Denis Yershov

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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