Address: 31 Leningradsky Pr.
Phone: 613 0784
Average cost: $50-100
Services: English-language menu
Four dining halls in a 19th-century mansion offering traditional French cuisine. Vintage French and Italian wines. Live salon jazz on Fridays/Saturdays. Noon-midnight.
The Parisienne restaurant
Dine like a Russian Tsar? – s’il vous plait.
If you have ever wondered what it must have felt like to be a member of the Tsar’s family, well, at least a courtesan, here’s your chance to find out. You don’t have to go to the Kremlin and force your way into the Bolshoi Kremlevsky Dvorets. All you have to do is make your way to the ‘Young Pioneers Stadium’ at Leningradsky Shosse 31, to Le Parisienne. Don’t let the Pioneers put you off. If you have to spend even a few days in Russia you will know that here, all styles, epochs and all of Russian history are mixed up. Russian fusion.
The ‘Young Pioneers Stadium’ is situated on the territory of the famous ‘Khodinka’ site, where in 1882 the first All-Russian Industrial Exhibition was held. A special pavilion, or as it was commonly known ‘the Tsar’s Tea House’ was built on the exhibition grounds for the Tsar’s family and members of his cortege. The exhibition centre is long gone, but the pavilion remains. The building housed a luxurious restaurant, where the emperor dined. It was in here that a diner to celebrate the coronation of Nicholas II was given to the Moscow elite in 1986.
There was a bizarre, one-year period when the building housed the ‘California’ restaurant. Clients ate sweet corn and burritos on a background of panels with palms, Cadillacs and half-naked women. After that establishment closed, the building was give back its original name: ‘The Tsar’s Pavilion’, and turned over to patriotic borsch and suckling pigs higgledy-piggledy served with shashliks and kebabs. Finally, 6 years ago, this unique Russian-style architectural monument of the second half of the 19th century, crowned in Byzantine splendor, decorated with unbridled Vasnetsovsky ornaments on the exterior and gilded sculptures inside, with its symmetrical ceilings and towering windows was returned to a mission fitting to its original cause – to accommodate the French restaurant ‘Parisienne’.
Parisienne has blended into its environment well. The restaurant has preserved and emphasized the building’s unique lines, and at the same time has augmented the architecture by adding a modern look with the help of new details. The walls are decorated using a predominantly silver-grey colour. The use of glass and mirrors have added space and light. Home-like coziness is confirmed by multi-colour lighting in the glass wall cabinets and in the huge crystal chandeliers. No longer do the halls seem huge and official.
The Tsar’s Pavilion receives its guests in a way befitting royalty. Those arriving in automobiles will find spacious parking space. One only has to enter the building and you are fussed on, it all takes a little getting used to.
And now, you get down to the most important thing – enjoying Parisienne’s French cuisine. The menu is royal in its diversity. In the cold starters section, I paid particular attention to the Foie Gras Confit Marinated with Cognac, which is prepared according to Chef Bernard Derroisne’s own special recipe (594 rubles) and Carpaccio of Beef with Mint, Fresh Pears, Olive Oil with Oregano (594 rubles). It is definitely worth trying Parisienne’s version of the standard French onion soup, prepared according to an original Lyon recipe (264 rubles) and the Fish Soup Parisienne made with a mixed sea catch (462 rubles). Alas, the format of a magazine article does not make it possible to list the delicacies of the main dishes, for that the whole menu would have to be printed, but the Sea Bass Baked in Sea Salt with White Balsamic Sauce prepared at your table is unforgettable (990 rubles), as is the meltin- your-mouth Beef Fillet Flambeed in Cognac with Five Aroma Sauce (726 rubles).
You would be well-advised to turn to the grill section where you will find Dorado (Mahi Mahi) in Provencal Herbs with Lemon and Garlic (858 rubles) and Lemon Sole Grilled with Lemon and Sea Salt (1221 rubles).
This is a highend establishment, and the luxurious fittings may not be to everybody’s tastes. However the Parisienne is capable of satisfying any gastronomic caprice.