Kroo Cafe: French Twist
Kroo Cafe // 27 Suvorovsky Prospekt // Tel. (906) 273 1111 // Open daily, 8.30 a.m. until midnight // Brunch for two without alcohol 1,200 rubles ($34.50)
Published: February 12, 2014 (Issue # 1797)
Brunch in St. Petersburg falls between the nonexistent and the extravagant — between catch-as-catch-can and the full on splendor of hotel offerings like the champagne brunch at Grand Hotel Europe. A new cafe near Smolny, however, is set to change all that.
Kroo Cafe is owned by Francophile Violetta Kroo with a French expat chef in the kitchen, and offers weekend brunch from 8:30 a.m. until the respectable hour of 4 p.m — a godsend for those waking late on the weekend and in need of eggy sustenance.
Divided into two dining rooms separated by a display of baked goods, the cafe is decorated in calming blues and grays with a pop of color provided by red velvet covered banquettes in the more casual of the two rooms. Rustic yet sophisticated, the vibe is relaxed and welcoming.
The selection of brunch items on offer veers perilously close to the sweet end of the spectrum but there were enough savory items to keep us from turning to the full menu, which features French cuisine with a Russian twist and is available all day long.
Since the chef is French we decided to put his omelet- and quiche-making skills to the test with a feta and farmer’s sausage omelet (190 rubles, $5.46), and a quiche filled with salmon and spinach (190 rubles, $5.46). The diminutive quiche was first out of the kitchen and sat – as everything everywhere seems to do these days — perched atop a round, wooden cutting board covered in butcher’s paper. The tender flaky crust was held together with just enough custard to satisfy, although the portion size left a bit to be desired. A small accompanying dish of mustardy, herbed mayonnaise was a nice touch that added depth to what veered a bit too much toward the bland. The omelet was the platonic ideal of a dish that is, more often than not, served overcooked in most places. While the filling was also on the tame side, it was nonetheless a satisfying bite.
The croissants we had ordered at the start of the meal — one plain, one hazelnut filled — appeared as a separate course after the egg dishes despite our asking that they be delivered with our drinks. Served with a flourish atop an oval metal plate with a change of silverware we, of course, dug in with our hands. The sheen of butter left on our fingertips and the shards of flaky pastry scattered across our laps were the perfect testament to the chef’s mastery of this simple, yet miraculous invention. The slightly salty caramel and hazelnut praline that filled one of the croissants was so good we considered having a second.
We washed the meal down with a latte and a velvety smooth teacup half filled with hot chocolate (150 rubles, $4.31 each), which also arrived atop a sliver oval tray accompanied by a butter cookie and a shot of water. The presentation at Kroo Cafe veers towards the precious, but dispite the twee touches, a morning spent here was a gentle awakening after an indulgent night out that helped smooth the edges off the rest of the day.