I’ve just come back from Moscow.
I was flown over with Josh Eggleton to promote a cook book we worked on for a Russian publisher about British Seasonal Food and Cooking. I was originally approached by the publisher last year to shoot the book; they had found my work online and it had the look and feel they were after. However, in the meantime the chef they had lined up for the job fell through. The publisher asked me if I knew anyone that would be interested in doing the book and I thought that Josh would be ideal as I’ve shot his food plenty of times at the Pony and Trap and his cooking was right on the mark for the kind of food they wanted to publish in the book.
We shot the job at the Pony and Trap and we were excited to see the book when we arrived in Moscow. After the first day of doing a radio interview and magazine interview I got that they weren’t really interested in me – they were interested in Josh. That was absolutely fine by me, as I got an opportunity to head off and do my own thing in Moscow! I had known I would get some free time and I wasn’t going to miss out on the chance to do some shooting in another country, so before getting there I had contacted a bunch of food bloggers and photographers and when I got to Moscow I had a few restaurants lined up, ready to shoot.
I was very lucky to meet a talented photographer Inna who, through her shoots for the fashion industry, had connections with some amazing restaurants; I was even luckier that she agree to act as my guide and interpreter! In two days we got to shoot eight different restaurants – which ranged from New Wave Russian street food with a Korean twist to contemporary Scandi flavours and Modern Russia worthy of a second visit. Chatting to the chefs, gave me a real insight into the Moscow food scene right now.
Some of the highlights of my visit, which I would definitely recommend to foodies visiting Moscow, were:
Uwilliams – The food was just beautiful and absolutely full of flavour and colour. Stunning to shoot and delicious to eat.
Orange3 – They served exciting looking Scandi influenced food and I promise that their puddings are to die for.
Chugunnii Most – This restaurant was a bit of a nod to the past, with a contemporary twist. The food was fresh and delightful.
The Home of Happiness – This place had a delightful atmosphere and view, and served up feel-good and heart-warming food.
Crabs Are Coming – I would not have been surprised to find this restaurant in Soho London – it was hip, fresh and very friendly.
The lasting impression of my Moscow food experience is of a scene that it is looking out of the country at European and Asia influences, whist keeping a good grip on its Borsch (a kind of beetroot soup that comes hot or cold and includes meat, cabbage and sometimes potatoes) Okroshka (a cold soup with mostly raw vegetables and cooked meat) and Tarhun (tarragon lemonade, absolutely delicious and probably the only one I am trying to replicate at that home – I’ll post a recipe if I ever manage to get it right!).
Moscow was a huge departure from the South West of England, and it was a really exciting trip for me. I got to see an exciting and diverse food scene that is constantly evolving and meet some incredible people. I am already planning a return visit!