"In fact, the supervision of food was the first and the principal domestic preoccupation of Oblomovka estate. What calves were not fattened for the year's festivals! What poultry was not reared! What forethought and care and skill were not devoted to the consumption of comestibles! Game fowls and pullets were set apart solely for birthdays and other solemn occasions wherefore they were stuffed with nuts. For the same reason geese were caught several days beforehand, and hung up in bags until wanted, in order that, being restrained from exercise, they might put on the more fat. And what a roasting and a pickling and a baking would sometimes take place, and what mead and kvass were there not brewed, and what pies were there not compounded!"
This is a piece from "Oblomov" - a 19th century novel about an idle, unprecedentedly lazy, but good-hearted aristocrat Ilya Ilyich Oblomov whose only care was having breakfast, lunch and dinner at some time in the day. The story opens with his weak attempts to get up from his sofa in the morning.
Oblomov on the sofa is depicted on the frieze of the old mansion where the restaurant has been recreating hearty atmosphere of a rich Moscow house for the last 20 years.
The main treat on the Russian aristocrat's table was game meat. The restaurant offers bear, elk, wild boar, roe deer, hare's bids, and goat. We had smoked deer meat with cherry sauce as a cold starter, pelmeni with meat of elk and boar, a goat casserole and, of course, borsch. You know, statistics says that if there is borsch in a menu, 10% of all orders is borsch, whatever other choices are.
I am constantly looking for the right borsch for my tourists to try, and in most places it is just watery and plain, and I always think "It is only half good as how I cook it". This one, however, was all tenderness and mildness, with all its elements blending in. It came with some green onion, chopped garlic with dill and a few slices of salted lard on the side. This is the right feeling after a bowl of borsch - waves of soft satisfaction building up layer-by-layer in your stomach.
Game meat pelmeni were rich, textured, not over-salted, fragrant; meat was wrapped in thin dough. They were accompanied by some sour cream - so thick that the spoon could stand in it.
A goat casserole was succulent and rich in flavor (tastes like goat cheese) and matched nicely with soft farro with microgreens.
I liked that waiters there were not over-playing "the 19th century servants", like it is in Pushkin Cafe, but were just quick and efficient. The only thing which slightly spoiled the dinner was music, which had too many high frequencies.
The place is a short distance from Pyatnitskaya street which gradually becomes the major nightlife street of Moscow. After a 5-10 minutes walk towards the center you can continue the evening in one of its bars.