The Moscow Good Food Club Inaugural Meeting

Selection_015A group of 25 food enthusiasts gathered in the Night Flight restaurant in July for the inaugural meeting of the Moscow Good Food Club. Night Flight is perhaps best known for it’s club on the first floor, and few know that upstairs it houses a fine restaurant that has served as one of Moscow’s best eating places for over two decades.

Executive Chef Pierre Elofsson created a special menu for this high summer occasion based on typical Scandinavian fish, each dish accompanied by appropriate wines. The herrings, however deserved beer and a glass of specially prepared aquavit.

Selection_012The primary aim of the Moscow Good Food Club is to allow the chef to be creative and go beyond the standard restaurant menu. Pierre really surprised the audience with an amazing experience of exquisite tastes accompanied by carefully selected beverages. Guests were asked to discuss a critique of the meal based on 4 criteria. Night Flight scored high due to the excellent cuisine and service:

Pierre explained each dish as it was served. On his delicacy ‘Norwegian Salmon 400C.’ “I cook this for several hours according to traditional cooking methods at just 400C, the result is a melt-in-your-mouth experience of fresh salmon revealing amazing flavours that can only be experienced with this method of preparation.”

Selection_014We asked each table to elect a spokesperson for their critique and make comments. A précis of their comments regarding their Night Flight experience follows:

Ksenia Karpenko (Head Sommelier at Hotel Balschug): “I loved the first course with the nuts and the herring, I am Russian, so I love herring cooked in the old Russian way, but I have never tried this kind of fish prepared in such an interesting and tasty way. I enjoyed all the food that was served, I almost finished everything! The wine matched the food.”

Lucy Kenyon (health care professional): “we felt the food quality was 10 out of 10. There was nothing that we could have improved on. The choice, the range, the selection of the fish was just amazing. I am going to try and do that egg dish myself at home! We gave an 8 out of 10 for the quality and suitability of the drinks. For me I would have preferred a smooth sweet wine rather than a sparkling wine, to go with the desert. Service was excellent, the friendly staff were most attentive and looked after us well. We feel that the general rating of the meal as being very close to 10 out of 10.”

Anton Greiler, General Director of Julius Meinl Coffee: “we all estimated the food quality to be absolutely sensational, this is a clear 10. We have never experienced fish literally melting on the tongue, it was fascinating, congratulations to the chef. There were a lot of opinions on the quality and suitability of the drinks, the service standard was satisfactory. Overall, we rated the whole experience an 8.”

Selection_016To keep guests intellectually stimulated, they were given two extremely difficult questions to mull over whilst consuming their fish and wine. Namely: What are the most significant three changes that have taken place during your time in Moscow?, and What are your favourite restaurants in Moscow? Engaging debate ensued on all the tables, raised voices and raucous laughter were occasionally heard above the sound of chinking glasses.

In answer to the first question, Doran Doeh, senior partner at SNR Denton (CIS) Limited, the spokesperson appointed for the first table announced: “There are three main changes; firstly the appearance of good eateries and wine bars, which have made a real difference to the lives of everybody at least at this table. Number two is bicycles. You can now get on one of these municipal wonders and the cars will give you a wide berth because they are terrified of the bikes. The third is Red October,” which the speaker didn’t elaborate on. As regards restaurants, Doran mentioned: Mr Lee “for their wonderful Beijing duck and the Chinese restaurant Druzhba; and naturally Chicago Prime for steaks & hamburgers.”

Lucy Kenyon, spokesperson for table number two listed the coming of summer as being a tremendous event each year. “The biggest change for me since I’ve seen in Moscow is the awareness of the customer, I think we have a much more client- orientated service here now, and as Herman Ubbenjans eloquently mentioned, ‘Russia is on the threshold of being called a customer-service culture now.’”

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Table two cited that “for a genuine Russian experience, a restaurant called Alabama is a clear winner, there being no tourists there, draft beer, and friendly. The police eat there, you can speak Russian, and the food quality is reasonable.” For me, Lucy continued, “there is the White Rabbit restaurant. The food quality, mixture and taste is unique, also GlavPivTorg at Lubyanka because they do game better than anywhere else. Then we had café Pushkin for its selection of wines, as far as Night Flight goes, we shall be coming back, soon. The slow cooking was great, and so was the poached egg yoke, as a sauce, unbelievable.”

All in all the Moscow Good Food Club’s first event was a memorable occasion and will be repeated allowing our readers the opportunity to experience the best that Moscow’s restaurants have to offer.

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