On the same wave

The restaurant business has been no exception.

Restoran Ilya Blagoveschensky

 

Today, across a wide range of industries, businesses are displaying the tendency to direct their projects and activities towards smaller regions across Russia, whereas, before, they would seek specifically to adapt their ideas to the city of Moscow. The restaurant business has been no exception. Many chefs and restaurateurs are interested in redirecting their focus to other cities, because, in those regions, there are better quality ingredients than in Moscow. Myself a native of Rostov-on-Don, I often find that, in the capital, I don’t find enough quality products. Like the taste of pike perch — the real taste, which I was used to getting in Rostov. And then I managed to find it in Nizhny Novgorod. We realised that it was a city that had something to say through its food. We had no choice but to get started on something big there.

So, with the help of the Ivlev Group, we’ve been renovating three restaurant spaces of the Oka hotel complex. One of those spaces, on the eleventh floor, we’ll be turning into what you could call a trendy and stylish place for Nizhny Novgorod. Then there’s the Oka restaurant, which is on the ground floor. It’s more suitable for breakfasts and banquets; there won’t be any changes as far as the interior goes, but the concept of the kitchen will be completely ransformed. Finally, in the hotel’s entertainment area, called the Capital Club, the plan is to develop a gastropub with a menu to match. An added plus to all this is the top notch room service, which, like all of the other establishments mentioned, will feature a menu consisting of 40% local, Nizhny Novgorod products. With the nearby rivers — the Volga and the Oka — the menu, like the region itself, is rich in fish. Another priority of ours is to place the maximum emphasis on quality, freshness, local products, and, of course, the best classic and modern techniques and technologies in the preparation of those ingredients.

Another restaurant project of ours, the Park Kultury complex, is attractive straight away in that it’s located on the Verkhnevolzhskaya embankment. The bank is near the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin, which is the city’s main pedestrian zone, located on a hill above the river. Park Kultury stands on a hill, from which an incredible view opens up before you. And below is a small forest, with the vast Volga river running beneath. It’s stunningly beautiful.

On the ground floor of the complex is a casual cafe with a large viewing point. The menu there is a collection of a variety of hits in modern gastronomy: pizza, pasta, Caesar salad, and so on. It’s casual in the sense that it offers its guests these famous dishes at affordable prices.

The second floor is a more gastronomic space, a cosy restaurant that’s more suitable for evenings with friends and special family dinners. The dishes on the menu there aren’t much more expensive than at the cafe, but the restaurant is still different in its essence. There’s a «picture gallery» displaying the works of local Nizhny Novgorod artists, as well as a vodka bar serving drinks based on the national spirit. Since our partners in Nizhny Novgorod are involved in the production of vodka, I want to show guests the vodka we have to offer, both in the classic form and in a variety of cocktails. The vodka bar in particular is uniquely decorated. Imagine a restaurant complex, but there’s a huge block of ice inside. It immediately brings to mind scenes from movies, like the ice hotel in Die Another Day, doesn’t it? And the bar will be in this block of ice. It’s a visual spectacle that instantly compels you to drink some chilled vodka.

The culture of gastronomy in Russia is just getting started. And here we have to define what is meant by gastronomy. Many people associate it with new technologies, with molecular gastronomy and so on. That’s something we aren’t accustomed to, and I don’t know whether we will get accustomed to it. In Russia, people are more conservative in matters of food. They’re used to eating what they’ve always been eating, so the development of more showy things like molecular gastronomy tend to go unnoticed by them. The main thing is that food should be tasty, simple, and comprehensible. So, now, in Russia, this kind of «comprehensible» gastronomy is gaining momentum and setting off on its own path, calm and measured.

In this way, we’ll be aiming to show what is happening in the world, as well as talk about other cultures and remind ourselves of our own, through these dishes in Nizhny Novgorod. But we’ll do it very carefully. Maybe later on we’ll give it a try in other cities. But, for now, before the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, we can promise you that there will be some cool gastronomic projects coming to Nizhny Novgorod from Ivlev Group.

 

In the spring of 2018, the Ivlev Group is delving into the restaurant market of Nizhny Novgorod. On the bank of the Volga river, the company is launching Park Kultury, a large scale, multi level, panoramic restaurant complex. Additionally, it is conducting a renovation of the restaurant space in the grand Oka hotel. Ivlev Group founder Konstantin Ivlev and managing partner Ilya Blagoveshchensky share their thoughts on how important it is to create large scale restaurant projects in the many regions of Russia for the sake of developing Russian culinary culture. This time round,they focus on Nizhny Novgorod. Which city will be next?