Russian Fashion Week had been held in Moscow for the last 10 years in early March/April and mid-October. During this period, RFW has discovered dozens of new designers and has presented over sixty international designers to the Russian market. The fashion week is now sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.
After some delays, Turkish all-day restaurant cafe chain, Kitchenette, will open its first outpost in the UK on 18th November, 2013 (it was originally slated to open in September).
It’s no secret that I completely fell in love with Istanbul when I visited in 2009 and I have fond memories of spending some time in a couple of the Kitchenette outposts in the city, drinking coffee and eating cake, so its arrival in London has got me rather excited.
Kitchenette first launched in Turkey in 2005. The chain has expanded to boast 24 branches, not just in Turkey but also Baku (to read more of my tips on visiting, eating and drinking in Azerbaijan go here), Moscow and St Petersburg.
The London restaurant will open at 200-204 Putney Bridge SW15 2NA. Restaurant interiors have been designed by Michaelis Boyd. The 80-cover restaurant will feature lots of warm natural timbers and handmade tiles. In terms of food, you can expect good brasserie dishes, a few daily specials and excellent desserts in a really relaxed environment. It’s thought that the brand plans to expand quickly in London and potentially elsewhere in the UK.
Kitchenette is owned by TAG Restaurant Holdings which invested in Tom Aikens’ dining concept, Tom’s Kitchen. However, Square Meal reports (read more here) that the Michelin-starred chef is likely to only play a very minor, executive chef role.
Sydney-based 56th Parallel adventure travel specialists are promoting Siberia as a place to add to your bucket list.
Often perceived as desolate, inaccessible, the world’s image of Siberia is beginning to change. Now Russia’s harshest lands are emerging as a place to relax, play and explore, with tour company, 56th Parallel making trips to Siberia easier and more luxurious than ever before.
The 56th Parallel website www.56thparallel.com will aim to share Siberia’s true beauty with the rest of the world. The company offers a range of itineraries catering to all tastes, from action-packed adrenaline tours, to more leisurely experiences based around exploring Siberia’s ancient and modern cultures, customs and cuisine. Clients can also create their own customised, private itineraries. Clients can enjoy everything from the ballet, to rafting and rock climbing, the banya (Russian sauna) and vodka tasting.
With nine UNESCO sites and nearly 100 sites under consideration, Siberia’s natural beauty has always inspired tourists, artists, photographers, wildlife lovers and adventure sports entusiasts for generations.
Check out the promotional video from 56th Parallel below…
Premier providers of travel and visa services to the Russian Federation, Real Russia, have launched a series of tours to take travellers beyond the clichés of Russian culture – vodka, fur, spies – revealing the true beauty of this country. These tours will take you everywhere from the 60,000 lakes of the north west region of Karelia, to the volcanoes of the Kamchatka Peninsula in the east.
Travellers can peruse the tours online at www.realrussia.co.uk and pick from a range of classic trips like the Trans-Siberian or Trans-Mongolian tours, to lesser known explorative expeditions like Vladivostok Voyager. Once you’ve been inspired by a trip, the team at Real Russia tailormake the trip to your individual requirements according to season, duration, personal preferences and budget. The tours on offer can take you through all nine of Russia’s time zones, in any season, even the harsh winter.
Real Russia has provided inspirational tours to Russia and former Soviet states including Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan and the Baltic countries for more than a decade. The UK-based company is and officially accredited specialist agency and has partnered with local companies in 50 cities across Russia.
Konoba Batelina in Pula, Croatia, has been named one of the best places to eat in the world. Newsweek Magazine asked 53 of the world’s leading chefs to share their knowledge of the best restaurants in the world and Konoba Batelina made the cut. Out of 101 restaurants named, Konoba Batelina came in at number 53. I suggest you take a trip before it gets ridiculously busy, increasingly difficult to get a table, and no doubt more expensive!
Elsewhere in Central & Eastern Europe, Hot Spot and Weinbar Rutz in Berlin, and Cafe By Windmill and Chaika in Russia, were also noted as being places worth visiting while on your travels.
While at International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes last week, I was invited to dine with the InterContinental team. At lunch I met Alexey, General Manager of the InterContinental Tverskaya which opened on Monday 5th December and marked a return of the hotel group to Russia after a decade away. The hotel is built on the site of the Soviet-era Hotel Minsk and it tries to combine contemporary chic style with a distinct Muscovite residential feel. The hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from most of Moscow’s key landmarks including the Kremlin and Red Square. Despite what may be going on in Russia in terms of elections and protests at the moment, I believe Russia will continue to grow (I for one am visiting in April) and this hotel will no doubt prove popular among leisure and business travellers alike.
The 184 en-suite rooms have all the usual mod cons but it was the properties spectacular 19 suites, including three Penthouse suites which caught my eye. There’s also a superb ballroom which seats up to 250 guests for your very own Russian banquet (if you so please). While for a bit of a chill out, there’s a spa by Elemis (personally one of my preferred beauty brands – the quartz facial remains in my book unchallenged).
We all know I love to eat, so on to the restaurant. There’s the 126-seat Chekhonte restaurant which offers a contemporary take on traditional Russian dishes. I’m interested to see how this plays out. However, perhaps what intrigues me most is the Chocolate by day, martinis by night lobby lounge and bar P-Square. I suspect it will be particularly bling, but then who could blame them, isn’t that part of the Russian charm? I’ll just have to visit to find out!
There’s a great new bar/restaurant called Babushka that has opened up in Hawthorn in Melbourne. This casual watering hole Babushka was created by David Christianson (Upfront Concepts), Grant Smilie (Ponyfish Island, 360 Agency) and Mark Douglass (Mark Douglass Design).
The venue has a main room with a rich assortment of chairs, pews, stools and tables of all sizes. There are decorative birch tree branches and forest-inspired wallpaper to give that Russian element. There are three additional private rooms and a picnic outdoor area complete with traditional stripy deck chairs. Kitsch but fun! Personally I love the dark red walls and communal table of the pictured room above – there’s something very Soviet about it and is bringing back those memories of studying at SSEES.
As the rich wealth of Russian food appears to have escaped the Aussies for the time being, the menu revolves around the humble potato for which East European cuisine is somewhat unfairly renowned. However, I am assured that dishes such as the potato pizza are delicious. Naturally there is also From Russia with Love vodka on hand. Unfortunately for the Aussies this place is a pop-up so get there while you still can and have a shot for me!
Babushka, on the corner of Power Street and Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Melbourne
At this year’s Taste of London Festival in Regent’s Park (16th to 19th June) you can discover the delights of Russian vodka at the Russian Standard Cocktail Bar.
Eager gourmands are invited to explore Russian Standard’s House of Vodka with two mixology master classes each day, run by leading mixologist Glen Hooper who has over 10 years experience in the heart of London’s cocktail culture. Glen has travelled the world and brings with him a wealth of mixology expertise to share with the attendees. The sessions will explain how to truly taste and enjoy premium vodka; educating participants about the key differences between Russian Standard Vodka, Russian Standard Gold and Russian Standard Platinum.
In each class, Glen will elaborate on the history and heritage of Russian Standard Vodka, including an explanation of Dmitri Mendeleev’s original vodka formula created for the Tsars in 1894. True foodies will also be able to learn about Russian zakuski, small plates served on the arrival of guests alongside vodka and a bubbling samovar.
For thirsty visitors keen to kick back with a cocktail, a choice of five refreshing Russian Standard Vodka drinks will be on offer to purchase by the glass or pitcher. These include the Bolshoi Basil, a unique and refreshing tall drink, and the Appleflower, a summery cocktail featuring delicate elderflower and apple flavours. Sunday festival goers will also be able to treat themselves to a Classic Russian Bloody Mary, the perfect way to ease into a sunny day spent sampling the festival’s premium food and drink.
The Russian Standard Vodka bar will be at stand S5, which is near the main entrance to Taste of London.
Advance tickets for Taste of London start from £23.50, while tickets on the day start from £26. Visit www.tastefestivals.com/london to secure your ticket today.
Russian architects, Arch-group, and French studio, Sade Sarl, have won an international competition to design a Russian Orthodox church and cultural centre adjacent to the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris. The cultural and spiritual centre will include a large public garden with a surrounding glass wall of multimedia screens which will be open to the public. A glass canopy will partially cover part of the garden, joining the stone cultural centre and church with nine golden onion domes.
The design of the church will be influenced by the Russian Orthodox churches built between the 14th and 16th centuries. The church will have five onion domes, three naves, and lateral sanctuaries. Large slabs of white limestone will be imported from Russia for the building. The interior will boast traditional wall paintings in the style of Andrei Rublev.
It is expected that the project will be financed by the state, church, its contractors and sponsors.