Mar 20 2013


I am very very annoyed with this restaurant. I went there hoping I will eat at the famous Russian chef Anatoly Komm’s famous Varvary restaurant but the waiter gave me the menu of Varvary Brasserie which serves every day European and Russian food and did not even give me the menu of Anatoly Komm’s famous molecular cuisine dishes. Which leaves me in a silly position, as I have been to the premises of Varvary, experienced the atmosphere and the service and also the food, but just not the food I was expecting to have, which means I will probably have to go back to try the molecular cuisine dishes, about which I am actually extremely annoyed, as I did not really like Varvary at all.  


Varvary means barbarians and I first read about Varvary (with the famous Anatoly Komm menu that I did not get to see) a few years ago in a newspaper article that said how Anatoly Komm had done something incredible with Russian food by mixing it with molecular gastronomy and making it superb and it was the first restaurant from Eastern Europe or Russia that had made it into the top 50 of the San Pellegrino world’s best restaurants list at number 48. In the following year it dropped out of the top 50 and was ranked number 60, and then this year it has dropped even further, but still the highest Russian/ Eastern Europe restaurant in the list so when I went to Moscow I was keen to go to Varvary. 


Getting a reservation was easy. We booked a table for Wednesday evening for dinner the night before and on the day we changed the reservation time twice which also was easy, whih shows this restaurant is not that popular in Moscow. Also when I speak about Varvary to my Russian friends, very few people have actually been there, not a good sign. When we arrived at 7.30 we were the only people there. The restaurant is located on a small, quiet street and you can see the name “Varvary” written in red letters outside the entrance and when you first enter the restaurant you go through a beautiful dark corridor with candles and expensive paintings on both sides. It has a very grand feeling and I quite liked it, but my dinner buddy called it “untasteful” and you can see a lot of money has been spent on the chairs, lamps, paintings and it feels very grand in a Russian typical style. I have also seen some reviews that call the interior similar to what you would find in a nightclub. I personally quite liked it as I said, but it can be a bit over the top for westerners.


I had looked at the Anatoly Komm’s famous tasting menu on line (the one that I did not get to see in real life), and it cost over £200 (more expensive than any tasting menu in London) but you could also chose 1, 2 or 3 courses from this menu, not go for the whole thing, and 2 courses were a tiny bit more reasonable £100 (still not great but I have seen this elsewhere). However as I keep saying (because I am so annoyed about it) we never got to see this menu and were given a normal menu. The waiters offered me a Russian or an English menu and I chose the English one to make things easier for me. The menu had starters, soups, pastas and main courses. The 2 soups I wanted to have they did not have, and also the starter that my friend D wanted to have they did not have. After we could not order any of the food we wanted to have, the waiters brought me a Russian menu to show some other suggestions and on the Russian menu the dishes were totally different than the dishes on the English menu. I suspect what had happened was that the dishes they were offering had changed and they managed to change the Russian menu according but the English one had not been updated. After we had ordered I heard the waiter in Russian explaining to a gentleman sitting at the table next to us they had 2 menus, the usual menu and the tasting menu, the thing that I had seen on line. This was in the middle of our meal, so I could not change our order but this did make me very angry and showed how useless the service was. I do blame myself as well, as I should have maybe insisted or asked about the tasting menu, but it is also the duty of a waiter to explain things. Also throughout our meal, the service was not great at all. They could not make the “old fashioned” cocktail my friend D ordered, the waiters did not speak good English and it just felt so chaotic.


And the food did not save the experience. First they brought us extremely average bread, not home baked, just cut from a loaf that was not the freshest and did not even bring any butter or oil to go with it. I ordered a lamb soup as my starter, my friend Zoli ordered a celery soup with truffle and my friend D ordered a soft shell crab. My soup was very average and in any Central Asian restaurant I would get a better and a much cheaper soup. The lamb inside of it and the broth were tasty and I liked how they had given me a whole chilli in the soup that I was slowly biting as I was eating the soup, but they also had quite hard and clearly not totally boiled potatoes in there. Zoli’s and D’s starters did not look very impressive and D especially was saying how average the food was. I had high hopes for the main course though as I had ordered (from the Russian menu, not the English one) golupci Anatoly Komm style and golupci is a traditional Central Asian dish of meat and rice stuffed cabbage leaves. I was presented though with 5 meat balls and some brussel sprouts on a plate in some sauce that tasted a bit like ketchup. I am rarely super picky about food but this was quite bad. I don’t like brussel sprouts (the waiter told me it was going to be savoy cabbage which was a clear lie) and they had done nothing to make the brussel sprouts interesting and eating them with meat balls and ketchup sauce whilst I can see is creative as I have not had such a combination presented so nicely on the table before, it was not tasty or impressive at all. D was also not impressed with his pasta, which according to the name should have had asparagus, but in the end turned out to have any vegetable imaginable. Zoli ordered scallops and he got 5 small scallops which he said left him hungry afterwards. We did not want any desert but they did bring us a profiterole with ice cream inside covered with chocolate sauce and D really liked it. I thought it was ok. 


So yes I am very disappointed with Varvary and more because they did not even give me a chance to give them a chance and try the tasting menu. The food we got was average to bad and the service was awful, and this is one of the worst value for money meals I have had in my life. 


Price for 3 people with a bottle of wine: 15550 (around £332)

Date: 20/03/13

Location: Moscow

Maija rated: 



Strastnoy Blvd, д. 8А, 107031
Varvary Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 1.5