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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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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