Address: Spiridonievsky per.., 9, Marco Polo Hotel
Tel: +7 (495) 660-0606
All major credit cards are accepted.
By Selin Bert
In a metropolis like Moscow where there are as many restaurants as there are Mercedes Brabus parked in front of them, it is unfortunate that I can only count a handful of eateries I would consider frequenting on a regular basis. I am pleased to say that the newly opened Don Pedro is one of them. Though this establishment has been deemed a cafe by the management, Don Pedro can give most of the "full fledged" restaurants in this town, a run for their money.
With a Spanish sounding name (the menu consists of French/Italian influenced dishes), an interior of "minimal, stylish gothic" (check out the futuristic wood burning fireplace!), the handsome golden sarong-shirted waiters, and the menu consisting of dishes with names such as Notes of a Hunter, your first impressions would likely be of yet another restaurant with an identity crisis, but everything seems to work in Don Pedro's favour.
Due to the fact that the perusal of the menu seemed to take an age, our waiter not only agreed to provide us with numerous "tasters" of dishes we wished to try, he then continued to describe each one with considerable knowledge! An establishment with proficient & friendly serving staff, quite a shock considering the usual scowls or blank stares I get from most waiters around this town.
My dining partner & I ended up ordering 4 salads, 2 cold & 3 hot starters, 2 soups, 2 entrees and 2 desserts....and let's not forget the mixed basket of fresh breads and the miniature individual butter dishes with silver domed covers that accompanied our meals.
If I was to write in detail about every dish we dined on, this would be far too long a review, so here were those we thought extremely worthy of mention: Of the 15 (!) dishes we tasted - and let me tell you that they were served in their full sizes not as amuse bouche as was expected - I was impressed with the concept of the cold starter "Sentimental journey", a modern take on the old standby at any Italian restaurant, prosciutto & melon - at Don Pedro these two partners in crime were paired with thin slices of passion fruit and lemon ice cream, which gave this dish a fresh, acidic, palette cleansing flavour. The Beef Tartare was of an excellent consistency, and wonderfully spicy - thank god that chef Edwardo shows this classic dish its due respect instead of just viewing it as "raw meat and egg", as many here in Moscow tend to do. My dining partner and I both raved about the aubergines with goat cheese/parmesan sauce and I loved the subtle flavours of the foie gras, bite size pieces served with raspberries - the most difficult thing in the world is to make things simple, and that is exactly what this dish was, simple presentation, wonderful taste.
Though Don Pedro has a lunch menu - 5 courses, 190 rbls - I would eat here almost everyday just for the soups!!!! The French Onion Soup, with it's smoky flavour and the slice of baguette with melted Gruyere was yet again simply but lovingly prepared and the Seafood Soup, with it's ochre colour, creamy texture and decorated with fried octopus slices and 1 oyster in the shell, was both tastefully prepared and had my dining partner raving for 10 minutes.
Of the 2 entrees we tried, "A Domani", the lamb chops which were cooked to pink perfection and served with a spinach and rice/wild rice mould, were tender and flavourful, and the duck was crispy, though could have been a little less tough. Lovely honey & berry sauce though. We barely had any room for dessert by this time, but we managed a few spoonfuls of the substantial Tiramisu - which was light, creamy and wonderful - & the Cheesecake, which we decided was more NY style than your normal, baked with -crust kind. A good choice for those who prefer A LOT of cream in their desserts.
My only qualm through the whole dining experience was the use of Russian Salad in 2 of the salads we ordered - not my idea of the French or Italian kitchen - and a lack of seasoning in a couple of the dishes. In any case it was an enjoyable experience.
The prices for all these substantial dishes range from 120 rbls - 200 rbls for salads, cold & hot starters, the Beefsteak being the most expensive meat entree at 750 rbls, and the Dorado Baked in Sea Salt being the most expensive fish entree at 550 rbls; we unfortunately didn't have the capacity to try the pasta or fish dishes, next time hopefully. The wine list consists of Chilean, French, Georgian wines and is surprisingly wallet friendly, instead of making you want to laugh hysterically when you peruse the prices. The house Sauvignon my dining partner tried was 750 rbls for the bottle - unfortunately there isn't a huge choice for wines per glass, but with the prices being so down to earth, that isn't a setback.
All in all, a very good dining experience in a casual, friendly environment. Don Pedro is well worth a visit - or two!