Offering staples like blini and borscht, Winter Palace takes shape at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture
what follows is the description of a cuisine that I am told is authentic. I have no way of verifying this claim, having never tasted Russian cuisine before. But given that Winter Palace (the optimism to name a restaurant that, in Chennai) is located inside the Russian Centre of Science and Culture, is managed by a Russian, and the food is prepared by a Russian chef (after much finessing based on his Russian colleagues’ feedback), I suppose we can say that there is a good chance it serves authentic Russian cuisine. What I do feel qualified to say — as a lifelong, champion eater — is that whatever I was served, was most definitely worth another visit.
Sergey Yaroshinskiy, who brought the project to life, has lived in India for 12 years and speaks fluent Hindi. He takes charge of our meal and in a short while I find our table covered with dishes. The restaurant features indoor seating with interiors borrowing from the baroque style of the residence of Russian monarchs in St Petersburg. We are served in the verandah of the restaurant, as the interiors are still being finished.
The menu features traditional Russian dishes like Blini (sweet and savoury) and Borscht (the famous beet-based soup) and several dishes from southern Russia that might be more familiar for the Indian palate, such as Plov (similar to biryani). Chef Sergey Nekrasov, a shy gentleman who had to be coaxed to appear in photographs, has worked at the famous Pushkin cafe in Moscow and has relied almost entirely on local products. His delicious Kvass (a refreshing drink made from fermenting bread) is a gentle (non-alcoholic) accompaniment to our meal. He also makes his own pickles and cures his own meat.
Take your pick
There is much which ought to be tried, but for non vegetarians we recommend the Salo (cured slices of pork), the Salted Fish and the Stroganina (Russian style beef carpaccio) that put the focus on the taste of the meat. We also like their savoury Blinis (like pancakes filled with fish, chicken liver or cheese and mushrooms). Vegetarians should try the Royal Tomatoes filled with cheese and vegetables. Meanwhile, the cold soups are sure to be refreshing once summer takes hold. For dessert we try the minimally sweet but very interesting cheesecake curd (lightly fried) that comes with a jam and the somewhat decadent banana strudel with ice cream, that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Meal for two at approximately Rs 2,000. Details: 8939285725