We couldn’t believe it when we first heard that an authentic Russian eatery had opened in Chennai, but Winter Palace is actually the real deal. With a name derived from the eponymous royal monument in the port city of Saint Petersburg, which housed the Russian monarchs during the Victorian era, this restaurant does a pretty decent job of highlighting their continent’s imperial aristocracy and varied cuisine. Here’s an exclusive preview.
Beautiful, spacious and perfectly fit for family brunches or dates – Winter Palace, contrary to its name, actually has a strangely beachy vibe. The light sky blue and white colour theme might seem out of place, but they are reminiscent of the original Winter Palace. Expect quaint cabana shaped dacha (shack) with white georgette curtains and relaxed bamboo chairs on the outside, and a beautiful Elizabethan Baroque architecture with fixed wooden seating on the inside.
The light Russian jingles, mostly cross cultural crowd and relaxed ambience will help you wind down after a tiring day, and some nights they also host live performances by local as well as international musicians.
FOOD + DRINKS
Spicy Chettinad lovers might take time to understand the flavours of this kitchen, since owner Sergey Yaroshinsky believes that Russian cuisine is misinterpreted by most and has a lot more to offer than just vodka. The kitchen, headed by Sergey Nekrasov – former chef of the famous Pushkin café in Moscow – stresses on presenting the food just how it’s done in Russia. So whether it’s the traditional beef and beetroot Borsch soup (Rs 230), fish/chicken/mushroom Blini pancakes (Rs 250) or even Salad a’la Ruse (Rs 230) – a festive Russian salad with grilled chicken fillet, boiled vegetables and mayonnaise dressing – the carefully handcrafted menu that took over eight months to assemble remains completely authentic.
We suggest you start off with a shot of the royal drink made from bread – Kvass (Rs 70) or some Russian cranberry Mors (Rs 170) while you decide what to eat. We loved the Beef Stroganina with green onions tossed in Chef’s special sauce (Rs 350) and the pork bacon strips called Salo (Rs 210). Don’t forget to try their signature Souses or dipping sauce in Russian. Some of the other interesting options are the spicy salted Fish in Fur with mayonnaise (Rs 230), grilled-n-baked Salmon a’la Moscow (Rs 430) and Chicken Steak a la Dacha (Rs 320) – butter fried steak with herbs and omelette. The delicious Vegetable Tower with Cheese (Rs 210) is a delight for herbivores, though green options are limited here, and the delightful Napoleon Cake (Rs 150) is a must try for everyone.
IN A NUTSHELL
TC Verdict: A modest Russian restaurant that will surprise you with authentic, indigenous flavours.
Meal for Two: Rs 1,100
Cuisine: Russian, European and Continental
Review & Other Details: Winter Palace on TimesCity
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**The writer was invited by the restaurant to preview their menu**