European, Summer Terraces
Address: Maly Palashevsky per., 7
Tel: +7 495 937-5630
Open from 12:00 until 01:00
All major credit cards are accepted.
By Robert Lees
Sweden has long been synonymous with quality and reliability but the words Swedish and high-class cuisine are rarely heard together. However the Scandinavia restaurant has for the past eight years been serving up Swedish influenced food that can match anything Moscow's finest eateries can offer.
First impressions are all important and Scandinavia is a winner before you even enter the building. The restaurant, conveniently located on a quiet lane off Tverskaya, draws diners in with its winter garden softly lit with hues of lilac and green and a surreal ice bar complete with skating waitress.
Once inside the metal and wooden interior is both ultra-stylish and homely. The lighting is modern yet reassuringly soft focus and the soothing background music does not intrude.
The a la carte menu is simple with chef, Per Palmquist, preferring to concentrate on a few well prepared, and beautifully presented dishes. The ingredients are brought especially from Sweden but the chef himself describes the cuisine as international.
On this occasion we decided to forgo the starter however we were offered a complimentary game pate with a cranberry coulis. This was gratefully accepted and was accompanied by a wonderfully soft, aromatic brown loaf that was more reminiscent of a rich fruitcake than bread.
For the main course I opted for the Tuna steak with Kamchatka crab served with cinnamon risotto and lobster vinaigrette (880Rb). It came medium rare but despite my initial fear bore little relation to sushi. It had a reassuringly firm texture and dissolved deliciously in the mouth. The risotto had an unusual consistency but the strange combination of sweet and savoury was unexpectedly pleasant.
My dining partner chose the Atlantic cod with bacon mashed potato (990Rb). Again the fish was cooked to perfection. The subtle flavour of the cod was well suited to the smokiness of the potatoes. We washed down the main course with a nicely chilled bottle of Argentinian Pinot Gris (1080Rb). The wine list is so extensive that our commendable choice was more down to serendipity than a detailed knowledge of fine wines.
For the pudding we both felt that a light desert was the order of the day. The blueberry sorbet must go down as the bargain of the century at 60 Rb for an incredibly generous portion. It was bursting with fruitiness and had a wonderfully smooth texture.
At the end of the meal we retired to the bar area overlooking the winter garden. There I finished with a single shot of Russky Standart Vodka while my companion enjoyed a riotously flavoursome Julie cocktail.
Scandinavia's style seems at odds with Moscow's vulgar and ostentatious get-rich-quick ethos. Everything about Scandinavia is unpretentious and low key. The food is superb yet simple. The interior is stylish but welcoming and the staff are polite, knowledgeable and thankfully unobtrusive.
If you understand class and quality but don't feel the need to shout about it then Scandinavia is the place for you.