Moscow’s Café Pouchkine opens in Paris

Expect chocolate matryoshkas, Ivan the Terrible burgers and borscht by the bowlful

Red berry pavlova, from €8.70
Red berry pavlova, from €8.70

With the launch of Café Pouchkine, on Paris’ Place de la Madeleine, the French need not worry if the winter is severe, for restaurateur Andrei Dellos’ Chekhovian-style dacha-cum-restaurant, bar and tearoom is a warming escape brimming with comforting hot chocolate, champagnecaviar and sublime pâtisserie.

Andrei Dellos’ Chekhovian-style dacha-cum-restaurant, bar and tearoom
Andrei Dellos’ Chekhovian-style dacha-cum-restaurant, bar and tearoom

Dellos’ Moscow restaurant of the same name, which he opened in 1999, celebrated the bicentenary of poet, novelist and playwright Alexandre Pushkin with its 18th- and 19th-century salon-style decor. Here in Paris, three floors of salon rooms take the style further, mixing Dellos’ designs with furniture and antiques sourced in boutiques, auction houses, shops and flea markets – each with a story to tell.

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The decor may be from centuries past, but the kitchens – where Chef Patrick Pailler works in tandem with 2017 pâtissier of the year Nina Métayer – are state of the art. “Our repertoire is a Franco-Russian dialogue celebrating fresh seasonal products,” says Métayer.

Nina Métayer’s made-to-order chocolate, mandarin, mango, spice and pecan matryoshka doll, €8.40 for a slice or €78 for an entire cake
Nina Métayer’s made-to-order chocolate, mandarin, mango, spice and pecan matryoshka doll, €8.40 for a slice or €78 for an entire cake

An all-day menu begins with breakfasts of hot chocolate Pouchkine (€6), warm blackberry bostock (€3.50), scrambled eggs with caviar (€43), eggs Bénedicte with smoked salmon and two types of caviar (from €73-€430). Lunch and dinner dishes sent out by chef Yohann Paran – who learned the techniques of the perfect beef stroganoff at Dellos’ Moscow café – include sturgeon in caviar d’Aquitaine (€16), classic borscht (€12-€16), crayfish and cèpes tart (€25), blini club sandwiches of sarrasin and salmon (€15) and the Ivan the Terrible burger (€21). But it’s the dizzying collection of desserts and ice creams that are really worth crossing town for: red berry or chestnut pavlova (from €8.70) and a shiny, three-texture triple-chocolate confection, the César (€8.70) – perfect with a flute of Duval Leroy Cuvée Femme 2000 (€30 for a glass or €175 bottle).

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The epicerie-cum-deli Russe is filled with everything needed to stock up the festive pantry, from Nina Métayer’s made-to-order chocolate, mandarin, mango, spice and pecan matryoshka doll  (€8.40 for a slice or €78 for an entire cake) and the signature koulitch or panettone (€22), to smoked salmon, house-made taramasalata, caviar and an extensive selection of vodkas.

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