The two-storey restaurant is housed in the former building of the Foreign Office, just opposite the notorious KGB, and the owners are definitely making the most of the location. The décor is dominated by the Stalin-era aesthetics; everything is authentic: varnished wood, solid tables and chairs. The concept has been perfected to the smallest detail, including the period-style waiters' uniforms, the band podium complete with a percussion set (live Soviet-era music from the 1950s and 1960s every night), drape curtains, red green-edged carpets, huge windows and neon lights. There is an amusing almost monument-like installation by one of the walls: a huge jug overrunning with frothy beer. Walls are covered with all sorts of diplomas and propaganda slogans. You can stay in one of the four rooms: secretariat office, conference hall, study and library. The sheer size of the place is impressive: the restaurant seats 230. While the Soviet-era props are omnipresent, there is nothing obtrusive or depressing about the whole setup: it doesn't make you feel as if you were trying to have dinner at a museum of the Communist Party (which eventually would inevitably make you sick and tired of it all). Just a bit of healthy and good-natured humour, no silly tomfoolery. Excellent Russian fare: imaginatively named dishes and a slight influence of European cuisine. Just don't expect any Pushkin-style delicacies; you will be served honest good authentic - but not particularly sophisticated - Russian food. Go for a shot or two of the various vodka infusions (nastoika) on a chilly day. You will be spoilt for choice; the menu lists plum, horseradish, cedar nut, wild berry vodka infusions... A 40 ml shot costs RUR 95; go ahead, feel the heat fill your chilled limbs...
5 Bolshaya Lubianka
Phone: (495) 928 25 91; 924-19-96
Keywords: Moscow, restaurant, restaurants, russian