Blinis, borscht and Borodinsky bread are delicious, sure, but the food scene in modern-day Moscow is a different beast. For the first time, it has two eateries – White Rabbit and Twins Garden – ranked in the World’s Best Restaurants Awards’ top 20, representing a wider crop of design-forward culinary hotspots whose chefs are raiding the vast national larder and putting imaginative spins on time-worn Russian recipes. Take Twins Gardens’ Kamchatka crab with blackcurrants, house-fermented vegetable wines or langoustine with osietra caviar, buttermilk and dill oil; 70 per cent sourced from its own farm and cooked in a traditional birch wood-fired stove. “People think Russian food is fatty, lots of dumplings, potatoes, some vodka… but there’s much more to it,” co-owner and El Bulli-trained chef Ivan Berezutsky told The Times.
An influx of chefs from the ‘Stans and Georgia (“the kitchen garden of the USSR,” says Forbes) are also shaking up the scene – at The Y, a 1970s-inclined dining room inspired by Wes Anderson film sets, modish Muscovites tuck into matsoni (Georgian fermented yoghurt) with walnut, apricot and buckwheat. Fill your boots at the Moscow Gastronomic Festival (1–31 October), when the city’s top restaurants lay on special lower-priced menus.