Oct 3 2013

Strana Katoroy Net

Strana Katorioy Net literally means “a country that does not exist” and it is one of the restaurants owned by restauranteur Arkady Novikov, who owns many restaurants in Moscow (and now also in London). The restaurant is located on one side of hotel Moscow that will soon become Four Seasons hotel, in the centre of Moscow, and next to the Red Square, the Bolshoi Theatre and the State Duma 


When you walk in, you are asked whether you want to sit in the smoking or non-smoking area, and we wanted to sit in the non-smoking one, and the restaurant is huge and can seat 220 people. The non-smoking area is super casual, chairs are leisurely and comfortable, but it does not strike you as a very upmarket place. The non-smoking area actually looked a bit better when I walked past it. They also have an open kitchen in between the smoking and non-smoking areas where you can see the chefs prepare dishes and you can see various meats, fish and vegetables on display (sort of similar like in Arkady Novikov’s London restaurant Novikov (MMMM)). 


The menu is very cool and features the most popular and traditional dishes from Russia, CIS and Asia and next to each dish it states which country the dish comes from. Apparently different chefs from different countries have created and chosen these various country dishes that would be on the menu. The main chef though is Sergei Batukov who in his career has apparently cooked for both Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. 


Three of us arrived first, followed by two of my colleagues, but as we had to wait a bit we ordered some drinks and some starters to nibble on. We looked at the wine, and it was crazy expensive, average bottle of wine here was 2x more expensive than anywhere in London. Brunella wanted to have a kir royal and they brought it to her and they had not mixed it up so the syrup was lying at the bottom and it was not a proper kir royal and she could not drink the bottom bit as it was too sweet. They did have some great non-alcoholic cocktails though and I ordered a very interesting one that had rosemary in it. Strangely even though they had the most interesting and creative list of non-alcoholic cocktails they did not have a list of alcoholic cocktails and the waitress just said they can create all the traditional ones we like. Mark though was more creative and decided to go for a non-alcoholic cocktail and a shot of vodka and then to mix it all up. 


As for the starters, I noticed they had one dish from Latvia listed on the menu, “Riga sprats with toasted rye bread”, so we had to order this as I had to show my friends a Latvian dish and to be honest with you I was super excited to see it on the menu. In reality we got a big board with a few sardines/ sprats, exactly like the sardines you get from a packet in Riga, which are super cheap, and Mark and Brunella did not really like them that much and only had one, but me being sentimental I ate the rest and quite liked them. The board also had Latvian dark bread, typical and nice, as well as mayonnaise, eggs, tomatoes and cucumbers, and I personally have never seen anyone eating these things together with sprats, but I can see how a Latvian could. Overall a nice little board for those people that like sprats. I also ordered an Uzbekistan tomato salad and I was super disappointed with this one. Usually when I order this salad in other restaurants it is incredibly tasty and full of flavour, but here it was absolutely tasteless, and as their pepper and salt that was on the table did not work, I could not even season it myself. It was just plain tomatoes cut up with some red onion. 


Another Uzbek dish that we ordered at the beginning was cheburek, which is pastry filled with something and we chose it to be filled with lamb (although you could have it filled with lamb and pumpkin which I personally thought was quite strange as I have not seen this before). The cheburek was tasty and all of us really enjoyed it. We also ordered pelmeni (Russian traditional dumplings filled with meat), which we also had filled with lamb. In an unusual manner they were served in a broth, but you could take them out of the broth, add some sour cream, which I did, and they were nice, not home made and not particularly good or different to the average ones you get from a packet but nice. I like pelmeni so I enjoyed them, and so did my friends, and it was actually their favourite dish. We also ordered a plate of pickles, which had marinated and pickled cucumbers, tomatoes and sauerkraut. I like all sort of marinated and pickled things and there was a decent selection and they were quite nice. 


When my other friends, Irina and Misha, arrived, we ordered the main course and before those a soup. Irina, Misha and I ordered a borsch with meat and Brunella ordered a kharcho, a typical Georgian soup. The borsch was delicious, had meat in it, I very much enjoyed it, although there was nothing out of the ordinary. Brunella also said she enjoyed her soup, even though she did not finish it. 


For the main course Misha had ordered for us a huge plate of sashlik or grilled meat to share and there was chicken, minced kebab, lamb chops, lamb and various other types of meat and this was served with three various spiced sauces. I very much enjoyed the meat, thought it was good quality and tasty and I personally loved the dill and coriander that it was served with (I was one of the few though, as Mark does not like dill and Brunella does not like coriander). All of us liked the meat and we finished the whole huge plate. 


Mark very much enjoyed this place and thought the food here was excellent and even better than in Puskin (MMMMM). I don’t agree really and I thought the food was good, but not excellent, but I very much liked the breath of the menu and concept that you can order various dishes from different CIS countries. The service though was awful. It took us so long to get the waiter’s attention and to order things and the service in general was just super slow. Good but not a great restaurant in Moscow. 


Date: 03/ 10/ 13

Location: Moscow

Price for 5 people with alcohol: RUB 15709.50 (£300) and we left 1500 RUB (£29) service charge

Maija rated: 



Strana Katoroy Net
2 Okhotny Ryad
Strana Katoroy Net Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3