And the beet goes on …

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Caroline Hurry
Caroline Hurry

You’ll find Russian fusion food with a twist at Taste To Eat in St Petersburg, writes Caroline Hurry

It was at the Taste To Eat restaurant next to the Fontanka River opposite the Bolshoi Theatre in St Petersburg, that I found the holy grail of beetroot mousse. Part of a starter, its perfect pinkness was balm for the soul. Marrying the texture of hummus with the taste of pickled beet, it was both intense and ineffably light.

Starter showing the deletable beetroot mousse
Starter showing the deletable beetroot mousse

With every mouthful, the waiter became more handsome, the jazz tempo more upbeat, and the décor cooler than Vladimir Putin showing Monsanto the middle finger. In short, Taste To Eat’s beet ensemble made me feel Vlad all over.

It involved sunflower seeds but despite my best efforts, the waiter was cagier than the KGB about the other ingredients. All recipes here are a state secret apparently, but trust me, I tried!

Taste To Eat has an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work. Picture: Caroline Hurry
Taste To Eat has an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work. Picture: Caroline Hurry

The decor has not so much been designed as assembled. There are plaster trophies of bear, wolf and deer heads on the brick walls, Warholesque portraits of astronaut Yuri Gagarin in the loo, an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work, bare wooden tables, menus chalked on blackboards, and beautiful Russian people. This place is a riot!

Tour de Force owner, Bella Varakina, looks on as dessert shrouds the table in a vaporous fog. Picture: Caroline Hurry
Tour de Force owner, Bella Varakina, looks on as dessert shrouds the table in a vaporous fog.

I was so sold on the restaurant’s winning ways with the beetroot I forget what I had for a main course. It may have involved buckwheat. Like everything, it was delicious. I recall wine, vodka, and some sort of cinnamon-flavoured liquor, but the dessert was something I’ll never forget. It was literally da bomb!

Fflash frozen meringues at Taste To Eat with a close-up of one of the tasty pinecones.
Flash frozen meringues at Taste To Eat with a close-up of one of the tasty pinecones.

Meringues, flash frozen before your eyes in liquid nitrogen, shrouded the table in a vaporous fog – like experiencing teargas without the eye-watering, throat burning effects. Think crazy Russian hacker meets Masterchef.

Dotting the plate were edible little pinecones. That was a culinary first for me, but I loved them! Talk about the wow factor! If you’re in St Petersburg, don’t miss it!

  • Special thanks to Tour de Force for showing us around some of the best places St Petersburg has to offer.