Place of Wonder: The Repa, St. Petersburg
For a place with such a dark and solemn history, the vibrant character reflected by St. Petersburg is beautiful. Just off the Baltic Sea, this small city maintains its raw history whilst embracing and experimenting with surrounding countries and cultures through their food, art and architecture.
Tucked behind the Malinsky Theatre on Saint-Petersburg, 18/10 Teatralnaya Ploshchad, you’ll find The Repa. The moment you walk in, the beautiful ‘Scandinavian minimalistic, theatrical fantasy’ interior, designed by Alena Akhmadullina, gives you a taster of the meal to come.
To start, we had Duck breast marinated in beetroot with green ptitim (Israeli couscous) and gooseberry sauce and Karelian salmon with red caviar and fried sauerkraut puree. There wasn’t a single dish we could fault, all whist introducing us to new flavours and textures. For someone with a love of fermented food, it was hands down the best fried sauerkraut puree I have ever eaten!
The minimalistic presentation truly allowed the ingredients to speak for themselves. Every dish is made using seasonal produce and traditional ingredients, making a distinctive and diverse menu. Most significantly, the elegance of The Repa is all in the detail. You’ll notice that the paintings on the walls by artist Andrey Remnev are mirrored in the embroidery of the furniture and as you look around there are preserved autographs from iconic figures in the theatre world from the previous restaurant owners which adds to the mysterious history of the building.
In true Russian style, we finished the meal with an ice-cold bottle of Vodka. I don’t know whether it was because we were in Russia or not but it went down like silk… gone are the days of burning throats and squinting eyes!!
The Repa embodies what I believe St. Petersburg defines now. A perfect balance of art, food, culture and traditional influences. A little pricey but worth every ruble, this elegant restaurant is the perfect place for a post or pre-ballet meal.
For an even more experimental dinner go to KOKOKO where you can try an inventive, quirky menu which features the iconic ‘My Mother’s Favourite Flower’ dessert. Not to everyone’s taste but definitely an experience.