Address: Arbat ul., 29
Tel: +7 (499) 241-0620
Address: Maroseika ul., 3/13
Tel: +7 (495) 624-0104
Address: Sadovaya-Chernogryazskaya ul., 36B
Metro: Krasnye Vorota
Tel: +7 (499) 975-1871
Address: Tverskaya ul., 7, Telegraf
Metro: Okhotny Ryad
Tel: +7 (499) 504-2201
Open from 08:00 until 23:00.
All major credit cards are accepted.
By Katherine Dolan
Turn the corner from the Chekovskaya metro station, walk one block and you've already arrived at the newest Shokoladnitsa cafe. Although it belongs to one of Moscow's biggest chains, the new establishment has a certain individuality. Tucked away on a Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street, with its entrance below street level, it escapes the main-street crowds and appears secluded and understated.
After descending the stairs, the first thing that meets your eyes is a large illuminated showcase of gorgeous cakes and desserts: jewel-like berries, sections of cheesecake, dainty filo parcels, and various chocolate morsels. To the right of this tempting counter display is the dining area--a room of exposed brick walls, wooden tables and big soft leather armchairs. The inhabitants of these chairs are diverse--work colleagues, close friends, and solitary diners--but they all share a relaxed unhurried manner that the furniture seems to invite.
Seeking the back room, my friend and I wandered through a corridor admiring an intriguing collection of coffee merchandise. Cups, plungers, parfait spoons and calabashes were displayed with prices attached.
Complete with its own counter and wait staff, the back room itself is designed to match the non-smoking section at the front, though it has a quieter, more intimate atmosphere. Though I am a non-smoker I felt very comfortable, as the room is very well ventilated. We took a table under a window, where one of the chairs 'grew' out of the wall--the wall was upholstered with leather to form the chair back, and a wide ledge with bolster cushions formed the seat.
A waitress brought the menu, and we browsed through the large variety of coffees, teas, drinks and snacks. I noticed that there were four different kinds of business lunch available, but as it was 2 p.m. I felt like something lighter.
We both decided to warm up with a glass of 'Glintvein' (mulled wine) (150Rb). This turned out to be a delicious concoction of Chilean red wine, sugar, cinnamon, citrus peel and cloves. The warm alcoholic glow had barely kicked in when the very prompt waitress brought my French mushroom soup with separate croutons. The soup was a cup of warm rich mushroom cream that I enjoyed at the time but regretted later. As I took care of the soup, my friend sipped away happily at her Cappuccino (80Rb).
In two minutes, we were already onto the main course--dessert. I was presented with Pancakes which were stuffed with honey and poppy seeds and accompanied by two sauces, chocolate and vanilla (120Rb). I enjoyed the combination of different sweets and the caviar-like texture of the seeds. My friend informed me that the dessert was invented in 1964 by the original Shokoladnitsa near Oktyabrskaya metro station. My tea was a white, Chinese jasmine-flavoured brew that complemented the sweets with its fresh, mild and not quite bitter taste.
My friend seemed equally absorbed in her selections. I sampled her European cheesecake with strawberries (160Rb), and was impressed by its smooth cheesy tang and feathery lightness offset with a juicy strawberry topping. She was also impressed with her drink - Japanese Sencha tea, which comes from Camellia buds (100Rb).
Shokoladnitsa's reasonably priced desserts and caffeinated brews already have a reputation as being among the best in Moscow. This location offers other benefits, in particular its quiet and comfortable atmosphere and fast service. Let's see what comes next.