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French resistance

Entrecote // 25 Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa, Tel: 314 6443 // Open daily from midday to midnight // Menu in Russian and English; credit cards accepted // Dinner for three without alcohol 2,600 rubles ($87)

Published: May 14, 2010 (Issue # 1573)


With a deft touch that will delight many of our British readers, this new restaurant from the people who brought us Ryba, Probka, the Mozzarella bars and Il Grappolo notes on its menu that it features non-French cuisine. Perhaps St. Petersburgs dining scene is waking up to the fact that the cuisine of our arch enemies is somewhat overrated, we thought. Perhaps the work of the worlds leading TV chefs, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay et al, has not been in vain?

In fact, Entrecote is not short on French dishes and, as our waitress very helpfully explained, the restaurant is only non-French in that it attempts to avoid some of the negative connotations that Gallic cooking has accrued the portions here are not miniscule slaps in the face to anyone with a decent appetite and theyre not extortionately priced. Thats the theory, at least.

The restaurant is located on the corner of Gorokhovaya Ulitsa and Bolshaya Morskaya in the former premises of the Orient restaurant, which was popular with foreign tourists, largely due to its location on the way to or back from the citys main attractions, and with people in desperate need of sustenance at 3 a.m. finding something to eat in the early hours in St. Petersburg is becoming increasingly difficult.

As usual, the Probka people have done a cracking job with the interior. Theyve maximized the natural lighting by opening up the apertures of the windows as far as possible this never fails in St. Petersburg, especially as it always provides excellent views, and you wonder why many other restaurants in the city miss this trick. The d?cor is stylishly minimalist, with some nice touches that prevented it ever getting monotonous a baby grand piano in the center of one room, a vast table where single diners will be able to eat without feeling that their table is an island in an ocean of solitude, and a wheel bolted to the ceiling with thick candles placed on top of it.

The menu is also fairly minimalist, fitting onto one piece of A3 paper. There are three pizzas, three pasta dishes, three fish dishes, a small selection of salads, some starters and, unsurprisingly, three entrecote cuts of meat to choose from: French, American and Wagyu. The prices arent astronomic, but then theyre not for the penny-pinching either, with the American steak costing 330 rubles ($11) per 100 grams and the slightly more exotic Japanese Wagyu costing 640 ($21). A pizza will set you back 360 rubles ($12), while the pasta dishes will cost you about 500 rubles ($16.50).

We started with a Nicoise salad, and were given the option of having it with tinned tuna (395 rubles, $13) or fresh tuna (450 rubles, $15). We took the latter, which came with chopped melon, a very fresh salad and a dressing that didnt overpower the succulent pieces of fish. Definitely a thumbs up. The feta salad (295 rubles, $9.8) also relied on the quality of the ingredients the very delicate, soft feta cheese was nothing like the blocks of rubbery dairy product that is sold under the same name in cartons in the citys supermarkets.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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