'The pub has to have a fireplace and a dog': 20 places where Brits eat and drink in Moscow

Haggis
British expats reveal all about English cuisine and where to find a legitimate slap-up à l’anglaise in Moscow.

Cook’kareku

“Not a bad place for a fry-up”

As a 24-hour breakfast café with dishes from all round the world, this may well be the most unique concept for a restaurant in Moscow. Liz Dunne, an English teacher, tells Russia Beyond that “it’s not a bad place for a proper English fry-up, and it’s the perfect place to finish a night out.” Apart from its great food, Cook’keraku’s most distinct feature is its discounts, which gives diners 30 percent off if they order a meal from a country in which it’s breakfast time – at the time (accounting for time differences). “I always try to get there for around 11-12 a.m., when it’s breakfast time in England. Then you’ll get the cheapest full English in Moscow. But if you’re an hour late, you’ll still get a French breakfast on the cheap. It’s win-win!” Liz says, before explaining that “trying to pronounce Cook’keraku is the only difficulty I’ve ever had there.”

Sadovo-Kudrinskaya St. 9, b. 4

Conversation

“Great sandwiches, salads, and cakes”

For Tara Doyle, a student at Moscow State University, Conversation on Bolshaya Nikitskaya is as good as any café back in London. “They have great sandwiches, salads, and cakes, and the interior is clearly influenced by the kind of cafés you see in London or New York.” Take caution when ordering: “The dessert portions are so massive, that one slice of cake is easily enough for two,” Tara told Russia Beyond. Leave room!

Bolshaya Nikitskaya St. 23/14/9
www.friends-forever.ru

Calicano

“The food’s healthy, and not too expensive”

“Places with a relaxed atmosphere and healthy, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive food always remind me of London” Russian online magazine Afisha Daily quotes Isabelle Douglas-Hamilton. Although Calicano is not branded as British, the assistant producer at Belka Productions complains of a lack of Middle-Eastern restaurants in Moscow, and insists that the joint’s “laidback, friendly ambience” draws parallels to brunch spots in London. She also shows a fondness for the restaurant’s in-house grocery, where you can buy “things that are commonly sold in organic food eateries in the British capital.” Don’t expect to see too much hoi polloi here, however – “I have yet to witness here somewhere properly resembling an old, dirty, decrepit (real!) London pub,” she adds.

Bolshoy Patriarshy Lane 4
www.facebook.com/Calicano

Katie O’Shea’s

“The fairly expensive beer is the only downside”

For teacher Ben Neill, the cozy, homely atmosphere in all the Irish pubs owned by Steve Conway (including Silver’s Irish Pub and Paddy’s Irish Pub & Eatery) make them the best spots to go to in Moscow. In spite of Katie’s distinctively Irish character, Ben feels at home there due to its “pies, fish and chips, and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding,” all helped by the fact that “the barmen always remember your name.” He also expresses admiration for the exotic flavor of Katie’s menu, which has good quality chili, curries, and Mexican food. It seems the only issue with Katie O’Shea’s is the price of a pint, which he claims “becomes especially noticeable when compared with local craft beer bars.” Not to worry, though – punters can instead enjoy a cocktail for “considerably cheaper” prices. Cheers!

Mira Prospect 26 b.5
www.katieosheas.ru

Underdog

“I go here for its genuine pub feel”

If the full English breakfast can alone characterize English cuisine, art critic Kitty Brendan James professes that she “has not yet encountered anything of the kind in Moscow.” For a genuine pub feel, however, she frequents Underdog, and also recommends Saxon + Parole for its food. “They do great breakfasts in other places beside metro Mayakovskaya,” Kitty continues, “but places where they cook exclusively English dishes, I have not yet witnessed,” though she also alleges that there are places in Moscow where “they play Britpop, stream Premier League games, and have a smell of lager and chips.”

Klimentovsky Lane 14

Mayak

“The only place in Moscow with a vibe that comes close to that of a London pub”

Isabelle Douglas-Hamilton feels at home in Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street’s Mayak, which reminds her of back home “not from an aesthetic point of view, but rather from the layout,” she says. Its shabby “dive” interior partly comes from the actual age of the bar, as it was first opened in 1993, but closed in 2004 and was subsequently re-opened by restaurateurs Dmitri Borisov and Dmitri Yampolski. “It has a community feel to it and it’s a good place for dates,” Isabelle says.

Bolshaya Nikitskaya St. 19/13
www.clubmayak.ru

Nym Yoga

“The food and atmosphere remind me of London”

This yoga-center/café hybrid reminds Isabelle Douglas-Hamilton of Notting Hill’s Ottolenghi, the famous café and side-project of Guardian columnist and chef Yotama Ottolenghi. “Every day they make fresh, tasty salads with quinoa, tomatoes, homemade pesto, and butternut squash,” Isabelle says. Nym-Yoga is a rare gem in Moscow, offering healthy, gluten-free, and vegetarian dishes to make everyone happy. Isabelle also praises their “fresh juices and interesting smoothies.” Namaste!

Plotnikov Lane 4/5
nym-yoga.com

Darbars

“The best place to get a curry in Moscow”

There is no love lost between Simon Molinier, former editor at PBN Hill and Knowlton strategies, and his home cuisine, which he claims resembles Russian food a little too much: “Both have a lot of heavy dishes with enormous quantities of potatoes and meat. In fact, the English don’t eat English food that often, with the exception of Sunday dinners,” he says. Instead, Simon professes to missing Indian food the most. “The delicious Chicken Tikka Massala is the most popular dish in Britain,” he explains, and tells us that Darbars in the Sputnik Hotel is the best place to get it in Moscow.

Steve Forman, comedian and standup host on Capital FM, agrees. “The Chicken Tikka Massala is the national dish of Britain,” he tells us. “Soft pieces of chicken in a thick tomato sauce, on a bed of aromatic rice. Who can resist?” Darbars is his curry-house of choice: “It’s a little expensive, but it’s tasty, and the staff there are excellent.”

Unlike Simon, Steve is very protective of his homeland’s cuisine, claiming the UK created all the “ands”” Fish and chips, bangers and mash, bread and butter pudding! “And who do you think invented the sandwich? Us Brits, of course!”

Leninsky Prospect 38 (Hotel Sputnik, 16th floor)
www.lhpub.ru

Chelsea Gastropub and The Lion’s Head

“The lamb burger here takes me back to my homeland”

For Liam McGrath, who works at the admissions department of the International School of Moscow, Moscow’s English pubs are the only option for those seeking a genuine full English breakfast. “Cafés such as Coffee House and Shokoladnitsa offer English breakfasts,” he claims, “but there’s nothing right about it, you’d be better off making it yourself.” The main problem, he explains, is the lack of availability of English products in Moscow, such as cheddar cheese or the spices necessary to harness the Indian and Chinese influences on English cuisine. “English food is gathered from… many simplified versions of various dishes from around the world,” he points out, with most “English” places in Moscow failing to recognize that. Liam does, however, recommend Chelsea Gastropub and its sister porterhouse The Lion’s Head.

Maly Gnezdilovsky Lane 12
chelsea-pub.ru/en/

Myasnitskaya 15
www.lhpub.ru/

Pie Point

“Good, English-style pies”

According to Dominic Finn, director of governmental and NGO affairs at PBN Hill and Knowlton Strategies, English cuisine is whatever you want it to be. “Due to centuries-old trade with different countries and international migration, British cuisine has become very varied,” he told Afisha. He outlines similarities to Irish and Scottish cuisine, and also credits the influence of food brought back from faraway colonies in India and the Far East. “However, by far the most traditional dishes involve gravy, pies, and food from the Sunday roast – hearty, warming, winter food,” he says. Ben Neill seconds this, highlighting the importance of simple meats like beef, lamb, pork, or chicken, cooked in the oven with gravy, potatoes, and vegetables. “In many respects, it’s similar to Russian food,” he tells us.

Dominic can’t do without fish and chips, curry, Sunday roast, and the full English. Although these can be hard to find in Moscow, he gives Pie Point at Pushkinskaya his stamp of approval. “They have a fairly simple menu, but it comes closest of all places to making the kind of food they make in England. It’s the most authentic place I’ve been to in Moscow.” This approval is shared by Ben, who commends Pie Point’s “large selection of pies, served with mash and gravy, and a good choice of craft beer.”

Bolshaya Bronnaya St. 27/4
piepoint.ru

Simon Molinier also echoes the love for Pie Point, in turn recommending Haggis on Petrovka Street for its Scotch eggs. However, he claims that he’s yet to find a place that makes good fish and chips. Picky, much?

Petrovka St. 15 b. 1
en.haggispub.ru

Tibet

“It’s straight to the gallows after a dinner like that”

“I’m fascinated by Tibet, although I’ve never been there,” says Steve Forman. Instead, Steve settles for this cozy restaurant, which he found on a Moscow expats’ website. “My standard order is Chicken Madras with mushroom sauce, coconut rice, and naan bread. With a big glass or two of beer. It’s straight to the gallows after a dinner like that.”

Nikolskaya 10 (Nikolskaya Plaza)
tibethimalaya.ru

Danilovsky Market

“The changes made to Danilovsky Market remind me above all of what’s going on at the moment in London”

Simon Dunlop, entrepreneur and creator of book service Bookmate, is critical of the lack of high-end English food on offer in Moscow. “For the past 15 years, the innovative perceptions of Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White have been redefining English cuisine,” he told Afisha. “And I also consider Moscow one of the places coming on most dynamically in its own right.” While remaining rather pessimistic about the prospect of finding quality London-style food in Moscow, Simon has nonetheless spotted aesthetic parallels in the two cities’ modern culinary trends. “The changes made to Danilovsky Market remind me above all of what’s going on at the moment in London,” he asserts. “For example, there’s a very London-esque atmosphere in United Kitchen; they make good roast beef and ham and cheese sandwiches. Curry, which we can call the national food of England, can be found in Indiiskaya Tochka. The best coffee is in Chellovek v Parokhode, and the best bread is in Baton.”

Mytnaya St. 74

Goodman

“Good steaks, and not a bad selection of tasty sauces”

English teacher Danny Clayton has never bothered to actively seek out English food in Moscow. “I just bring my favorite things straight over in my suitcase, as they don’t have them here.” Like many other Brits, he misses Indian and Chinese food more than anything else. But for a rare treat, he will go to Goodman near Okhotny Ryad Metro: “It’s quite expensive, but good for special occasions.”

Many restaurants
www.goodman.ru

Bobby Dazzler

“A place where they make very tasty homemade pies”

Simon Green, English teacher at Native Speakers Club, rates the pies at Bobby Dazzler very highly. However, he says that you often have to wait 30 minutes for one, despite them “always telling you your order’s first in line!”

Dominic Finn’s overall assessment of Moscow’s English pubs is unenthusiastic, failing to understand the overuse of posters, over-the-top interior design, and Irish trinkets to try to make an impression. “This has nothing to do with reality,” he told Afisha. “The design must be either historical, or influenced by the pub’s particular locality.” He therefore argues that to achieve a real “English” atmosphere, Moscow pubs shouldn’t try so hard – instead they should be “somewhere where you can relax with friends, eat good food, and drink tasty beer. I think there should be a fireplace and a dog there, the Russians would like that.”

Dominic does recommend Bobby Dazzler, but urges caution when placing an order for a pint. “Before I could stop him, my friend ordered us two Carling lagers at 400 rubles a pint. To put that into context, that’s like paying £8 in London for a Baltika 3!” The British are better known for their ales, bitters, and stouts, he assures us: “Any dark beer would’ve been better.”

Kostyansky Lane 7/13
www.bobbydazzler.ru

Pivbar and Fcking Craft Bar

“Follows the English pub format”

According to Simon Molinier, those seeking an English or Irish pub atmosphere might do better to avoid Moscow’s themed bars altogether to avoid getting ripped off: “Thank God, they’ve started to open craft bars, similar in format to an English pub, with good beer and snacks.” He recommends Pivbar at Mayakovsky Metro and Fcking Craft Bar at Mendeleevskaya Metro.

1 Tverskaya-Yamskaya St. 2 b 1
www.facebook.com/pivbar.moscow

Novoslobodskaya St. 16a (inside One Door Community)
www.facebook.com/fcpub

Torro Grill

“Will suit lovers of English food and burgers”

For Simon Green, food similar to the English style can also be found in Moscow’s meat-oriented restaurants. This makes particular sense when he lists the dishes he considers to be typically English: “The Sunday roast (meat, like roast beef, cooked in the oven…fish and chips (takeaway, as a rule, is a national hit), and any pie, for example with chicken and mushroom, or steak and kidney…”

Simon sees the food served in Torro Grill on White Square as not too different from what’s considered English cuisine. “It will suit lovers of English food and burgers,” he told Afisha.

Lesnaya St. 5b
www.torrogrill.ru

Molly Gwynn’s

“Looks more or less like an English restaurant”

Simon Green also recommends Molly Gwynn’s on Pyanitskaya Street. “They make English dishes there, including fish and chips, and I think of all Moscow institutions, it looks most similar to an English restaurant.”

Pyatnitskaya St. 24
www.rmcom.ru

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