This post is also available in: Русский (Russian)
Petrov-Vodkin Russian Tapas Bar & Restaurant is a new project by Igor Meltzer in Saint-Petersburg. Also known as “heartful Russian tavern” it joins best restaurant and traditional cuisine trends. The owner based the concept similar the first Russian Empire restaurant “The Bear” with a cocktail bar by side. At the same time the interior is decorated by graffiti inspired by Russian avant-garde pictures. And there are trendy tapases in the menu. The naming has strong connotations with Russian, even Saint-Petersburgian style of dining and drinking. Sometimes very gentle, sometimes not. The place is at the very heart of the city – just around the Admiralty, Hermitage Museum and Russian Museum.
We are very pleased to know that lately Saint-Petersburg makes equal the notions like “Russian” and “Fashionable”. This is obvious due to the fact of a series of recently opened places “a-la Russe”. So here is a detailed story about “Petrov-Vodkin” by DCW. Let’s go!
FROM THE DOORWAY
Interior decorated with Tzar-times elements turns to be more than up-to-date. Faceted-glass chandeliers, vintage lampshades, classical Russian glassware and smoothy a-la-Russe music accompaniment. Right at the entrance shows off a prominent Red Horse by Russian artist Petrov-Vodkin. There is also a samovar with tinctures one can drink when coming or leaving.
The bar is run by Vladimir Lenshin. He is well-known in the industry by his numerous projects including bartender school “Point and comma”. But even if you are far away from bar-life, you can easily recognise him as a host of TV-programm “Spinning discs” back from our childhood.
A big variety of alcohol is accomplished by a collection of inordinate vodkas and home-made tinctures by chief-barmen. There is no use to describe them as well as there is no use to describe art masterpieces. Prices in between 170 – 250 Rubles.
Vodkas are presented really well: from several standard positions to premium class, foreign and even eco and organic.
I should point out a special set “Russian vodka produced by old traditional receipts”. As vodka’s recipe is no older than early XXth century, it was a surprise for me.
But actually this is all about samogon and bread wines, so there is no historical contradiction.
The price for “belenkaya” ranges from bohemian 125 to bourgeoisie 490.
Igor Meltzer, Restaurant’s ideologist
“I had no plan to present a wide range of vodkas. We just divide it into parts by production methods. Traditional method, eco-vodka, so called “craft vodka” and vodka produced by traditional Russian recipes.
There are also samogon and bread wines. But we decided not to put polugar on a list. Foreign vodkas are presented as well by Polish Belvedere and French Sourse.
For acquaintance with different types of vodka we have a special degustation set with five vodkas and five mini-tapases. There are some combo-sets as well. And if you do not know what to choose, take classics: Beluga with black caviar.”
For those who wants a shot and a snack, or learn something new about Russian drinking culture, there are classical degustation combos including “Nikolashka” – a favorite snack of the last Russian Emperor Nikolay II. This is caviar with a slice of salt-and-sweet lemon.
“For the inordinate place of my friend, Igor Meltzer, I wanted to create inordinate cocktail card. New cocktails, new tinctures and lemonades. This is the place with Russian cuisine. That’s why I wanted to bring here tinctures and cocktails based on vodka, samogon, kvas, mushrooms, all with Russian ingredients.”
As a result, there are eight tinctures: rye and caraway, cranberry and anise, horseradish, pepper and bay leaf, lemon and tarragon, salty-sweet, buckwheat, ginger and honey, cherry and carnation. A bit of Russian classics: Black Russian, White Russian, Red Russian and Moscow Mule. The rest of the cocktails are specially elaborated for the project.
Igor asked me to make one cocktail based on Ardbeg whiskey with smoky smell and taste. Lemonades are based on truly Russian berries: blackcurrant and mint, sea buckthorn kvas and tea mushroom.
Cocktail menu is all about clear, easy but still interesting classics. All based on vodka, samogon, sometimes with originally Russian tea mushroom and kvas. There is only one exception: due to the personal request of Igor Meltzer one cocktail is based on whiskey. The naming gives a good sense of epoch and a taste of Mother-Russia.
“Red Horse Bathing” – is a twist to “Bloody Mary” in Russian way;
“Graf Vitte” – a version of Negroni, that was named after another graf, French actually;
“There are women in Russian villages…” – gin based aperitif, something between “Kir Royal” and “French 75”;
“In a garden, in a field” – includes tea mushroom. A very healthy trend.
Price ranges from 400 to 650 Rubles.
CUISINE: TAPAS-BAR & A LA CARTE
The Chief of the new restaurant is Stanislav Potyomkin, the one who is in charge of all La Perla fish restaurants. Actually that doesn’t prevent him to make here originally Russian menu.
The only connotation between this two projects is a number of seafood dishes in the menu presented together with tapases and other meals.
The menu is divided into two parts: appetizers and main course.
Buffet with tapases is a buffet itself with the rows of bottles and tinctures on it. The service time is minimal. Among appetizers is Far East delicatesses: seafood, caviar, pancakes of three types of flour, pate, forshmak, marionnaud and salted mushrooms. I should point out white milk mushrooms – they are marvellous. Sandwiches are all about Russian dining classics. Pay special attention to sprat on egg creme and piggy fat that perfectly matches vodka Stolichnaya.
Anastasia Dubrovskaya, PR-director:
“Petrov-Vodkin combines a form of tapas bar and restaurant a la carte. Actually, tapas bar format is well-known in Saint-Petersburg. A century ago there was a restaurant “The Bear”, where appetizers were served straight from the buffet amid the venue. A guest could get his order immediately. We have the same scheme. The idea is to serve our guests with an appetizer to vodka or other drink as soon as possible. This makes one feel much better while waiting for the main course”.
A LA CARTE
Fat is presented almost in a half of dishes, but you can find something without of this ingredient as well. Lamb tongues for example. They conquered my heart as I have never tasted something as delicate as they are.
On the list: pike cutlets, proper boiled bagels with cracklings, even more proper dumplings with sauerkraut in bouillon. Furthermore there are stuffed pike and borsch. Borsch is another theme to dwell on. If you order a liter of it, you are going to have incredible service. The plate is presented by the whole group of staff shouting “BORSCH!” and playing tambourine.
For lazy guys there is set-menu. Three sets of cold and hot appetizers, main course and dessert. A perfect version if you do not want to make choice.
The design was elaborated by architectural buro “11” headed by Anna Deliago and Nikolay Konashenko. They also designed La Perla Seafood Bar and La Perla Nera. And graffiti inspired by Petrov-Vodkin was executed by well-known photographer and ambrotype master Dmitriy Provotorov.
Having quite specific position of “Russian cuisine” restaurant, “Petrov-Vodkin” turned to be quite inordinate. Contemporary fashionable place with easy-to-taste local authentica. It is vodka room, bar and restaurant at the same time. Interpretation of alcohol and gastronomic lines as elegant as Saint-Petersburg itself. It is tasty, quite interesting, quite plain. The concept of the restaurant adjoins the past and the daring future as well as “The Bathing of Red Horse” by Russian avant-gardist Petrov-Vodkin.
Photos are courtesy of the restaurant
This post is also available in: Русский (Russian)