London is well known for being a diverse city. Ever since its birth people from all across the world have come to London to find their fortunes and make a living for themselves. Even the tourists around the city, those staying at hotels such as the Park Grand at Westbourne Terrace are of a diverse origin. Of course with that, come all of the various food stuffs from across the world, ideas for recipes spreading as much as we as humans do. People love to cook afterall, and London is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Whether it’s Michelin star cuisine or comforting street food, you’ll never be far from some great eating options. With so many cuisines however, it may be difficult to pick. That’s why we’ve focused today on the bright world of Russian cuisine and where to find it in London.
Borscht is an Eastern European soup of Ukrainian origin and most commonly uses beetroot o give it a deep red colour. The original soup is a derivative of an ancient soup which sued stems and leaves and was pickled into a primitive version of what Borscht is today. Borscht can be either vegetarian or can contain fish or meat. The modern version usually mixes meat stock with sautéed vegetables and has become popular across not only Eastern Europe but parts of the USA and of course the UK.
This is one of the most popular Russian dishes and is widely made around the world. Beef Stroganoff is made with a combination of sautéed beef in a sauce, usually served with Smetana or sour cream. The dish is usually accompanied by rice and makes a hearty and satisfying meal for any beef lovers out there. The recipe is said to have originated from an 1871 Russian cookbook named “a gift to young housewives” as well as a cooking competition from the year 1890 seeming to refer explicitly to the dishes success within it. As the dish gained popularity throughout the 20th century it was also served at US army outposts cross the world and even in pre-communist China.
Solyanka Soup is known for being one of the most popular soups of the Eastern Bloc during the days of Communist Russia. Nowadays the soup is still popular, and is usually a spicy and sour meat, fish or mushroom based soup, usually containing cucumbers in brine as well as cabbage, mushrooms and potatoes. The soup was especially popular in East Germany during the Soviet era and is even a favourite of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nowadays, it can be found in grocery stores in canned form but is also cooked in gourmet Russian restaurants.
This Polish cabbage roll is very popular in Russia and is made from boiled cabbage leaves as an envelope around minced meat, chopped onions and rice. Think of the Golubtsy as the Eastern European version of the dumpling, whilst it could also be compared to the British pigs in blankets due to the fact that it is also served during the Christmas period. One myth surrounding the Golubtsy is that during the 13 year war, the King of Poland fed his army with the meal, leading to a major win for their side. The win was linked to their eating of the meal.
This Russian Salad dish is made from boiled potatoes, carrots, brined dill pickles, green peas, eggs, celeriac onions and chicken, making it a full to the brim salad full of nutrients. On top of this, you’ll find a range of variations where mustard and mayonnaise are added to add strength to the flavour. Whatever your preference in regards to the makeup of Olivier Salad, it is often served in Russian restaurants across the UK as well as having become surprisingly popular in countries such as Mongolia, Latin America and Iran.
Blini’s are a form of Pancake coming from Russia. These pancakes are made from wheat and are served with garnishes such as sour cream, butter, caviar and quark, making it a more savoury variation on the sweet American version. These pancakes, like the Dutch and French crepe equivalent, are thin and often used to wrap around condiments and other ingredients within. The main difference it seems is in the condiments used. Whatever your reference of condiments, the Blini is stilla popular Russian breakfast and should definitely be added to hotels such as the Park Grand Central Hotel Breakfast menu!
A Russian classic, this soup of raw vegetables, cooked meat and boiled potatoes is a popular soup which is often mixed with Kvass, a popular Slavic drink made from Rye bread. The soup evolved during soviet times and begun to use diluted kefir, whey, vinegar and mineral water instead of the Kvass drink. Usually Potato Okroshka has a ratio of kvass to chopped ingredients which is similar to that of cereal and milk.
Russian restaurants in London
So now we’ve had a look at just some of the many amazing recipes you can find, why not explore some of the best Russian cuisine restaurants you can check out in London. Whether you have places to stay near Hyde Park or out on the city outskirts, these restaurants will be easy to find and close to transport links.
With some of the best Borsch in the city, Bob Bob Ricard is also famed for having a “press here for champagne” button and is decorated in a 1920’s glamour style. On top of this you can find a range of high class cocktails on offer made by expert mixologists.
On top of this you can also find SamarQuand, a restaurant which goes beyond Soviet cuisine to the world of Russian Film. With plenty of nights dedicated to films screenings and even Russian television being aired, this restaurant is a fully immersive Russian experience.
With traditional folk songs playing in the loos, Mari Vanna is a full experience of Russia. The waiters and staff may even speak to you in Russian due to their authentic heritage. Whilst the menu shifts with the seasons, you can be sure to be continuously charmed by the vintage shabby chic interior design.