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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. Petersburg’s 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 world’s 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 they’re not extortionately priced. That’s 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 city’s 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. They’ve 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 aren’t astronomic, but then they’re 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 didn’t 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 city’s supermarkets.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Jan. 25


Get out your running shoes for the 46th International Road of Life Marathon. Dedicated to the end of the blockade, three runs are offered — 5, 21 and 42 kilometer runs — starting in different places outside the city. Busses leave from 13/1 Arsenalnaya Naberezhny at 8 a.m. but check complete details and registration fees on www.newrunners.ru/race/doroga-zhizni-2015



If you are planning a wedding, head over to the Azimut Hotel, 43/1 Lermontovsky Prospekt from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The day includes live music, free dance classes and vendors selling wedding dresses, accessories, cakes and services to help make your special day perfect. Admission is free.



Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.







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