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“Michelin Test - A challenge for you, NOT to give three Stars, if Russia would be on the list”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Varvary - CLOSED

Varvary
Cuisines: European, Russian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
709 reviews
406 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 440 helpful votes
“Michelin Test - A challenge for you, NOT to give three Stars, if Russia would be on the list”
Reviewed November 1, 2012 via mobile

We had the so called Gastronomic Show. The word Show .does not describe our culinary experience properly. The preparations, quality and the ideas behind each dish were ART, class as well as an extraordinary ability of Anatoly Komm to go his own way. We also do not agree with other reviewers stating a dominance of molecular cuisine. What Anatoly and his Team served to us was extraordinary in every way you can think of as people who have some experience in the Top Gourmet World. The main reason: Product Quality in connection with Russian soul, spirit and origin. We never had within the (13) dishes such a combination of Borsch with Foie Grass, the Wild Red Shrimp was a dream and the Beetroot, for example as one of the desserts, was unique. The service and the explanations by Victor were perfect. We can highly recommend this place, seldom eaten in the recent past in the Stars-world with such a joy and delight.

Helpful?
Thank Travexperience
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

49 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Prague, Czech Republic
Level Contributor
57 reviews
40 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“But seriously, do something with the right side of your wine list, please.”
Reviewed June 10, 2012

VARVARY (BARBARIANS) is conveniently located on the Strastnoy blvd not far from Tverskaya on the top floor of the building. It gives you a nice view and they have a spacious terrace for alfresco dining as it gets warm enough in Moscow. The interior is as posh as you would expect in a top class Moscow fine dining restaurant. No surprises here – all black-and-red-and-shiny design.
But the main reason to visit VARVARY was the fact that Anatoly Komm has made it to the S.Pellegrino 2011 World’s 50 Best Restaurants List (#48) which is a good achievement as there are only two more Russian restaurants on the whole Top 100 (Semifredo is #83, Chaika is #99). What could possibly go wrong? But I really feel sorry that this award happened to the restaurant, it killed all the fun. I remember once I’ve been here before it became a local pride, it was a nice, happy place, which made me feel Christmassy in a rainy Russia, but the golden star has occurred. Let’s commence on a positive note. We started the dinner early and there were only two of us in the whole room for the entire length of our food fest. Possibly because it was a weekday or too cold outside or was it just a coincidence? Anyway, I don’t mind to dine in an empty room at all.
We settled for a nine-course tasting menu modestly named Gastronomic Show “Moscow Winter 2011” (215 EUR per person). The meal was marvelous. Top notch Chef’s compliment (Jerusalem artichoke soup with cheese ice-cream, sea buckthorn with cottage cheese and veal liver pate with tomato tartar) sets the bar high right from the beginning. I particularly enjoyed the langoustine soup and Chatka crab dumpling. Potato with dill sauce and red caviar was less interesting from my point of view. I did not like the Honey pudding at all. But 6 out 9 in a tasting menu is a very good score. And they give you a courtesy shot of vodka after the starter; you are in Russia after all. Level of service is pretty average, no f-ups, no pleasant surprises. Oh, wait, they don’t speak English. I had to interprete to my friend myself and no wonder I didn’t want to leave any tip at all, because I had to do waiter’s job. But guess what, I was reminded that tip is not included into the receipt. Which is preposterous thing to do in that kind of place!
Now comes the bitter part. Let’s get the record straight, I like my wines and I do believe there is nothing wrong with spending 200-300 EUR for a bottle of a fine wine in an upmarket restaurant. And Moscow is well known for its outrageous wine prices. But it will not save you from a heart attack as you see the BARBARIAN wine list. One way or another, bottle of Tignanello 2008 should not cost € 380. The day before dinner friend of mine has seen the same Tignanello in the not-so-cheap Moscow restaurant for € 190. Overpriced like hell, but still half of the BARBARIAN price. I have noticed that many Moscow restaurants actively discourage wine drinking among their customers. What I don’t get is the reason(s) behind such behaviour. BILLECART-SALMON Grande Cuvee 1996 in NOBU London will set you back 180 quid. Guess what, in Varvary the same wine costs 800 (eight hundred) quid. BILLECART 1996 is one my favourite wines, but for £800 I will fly to Reims, stay overnight and drink a case of BILLECART. Yes, they have Komm branded Laguiole steak knives (although you can clearly see it is a legacy of another Anatoly’s project Khizhina (which passed away some time ago). And the location is very good. Food is excellent. But seriously, do something with the right side of your wine list, please.

  • Visited May 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank vkupcis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hollywood, Florida
Level Contributor
101 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“Best tasting menu I have had - possibly ever!”
Reviewed June 3, 2012

My wife and I love tasting menus, and wanted to experience this chef's molecular gastronomy. We booked the "spectacular tasting" in advance, which was approximately 11 courses - all of which were modern, hip twists on Russian cuisine. Every dish was incredible, the service was polite and professional, and the overall experience well worth the trip. Two minor issues included that the restaurant was practically empty when we were there and that there wasn't a wine pairing option (we had a glass from the list with several of the courses). Still, this gets a full five stars.

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Helpful?
3 Thank Foodmaster68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Level Contributor
730 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1,409 helpful votes
“Visiting the High Temple of Russian molecular cuisine.”
Reviewed April 8, 2012

I made two visits to Vavary during my ten days in Moscow. The first was when Mr. Komm was cooking a joint dinner service with Francesco Apreda from Rome. The meal (which was quite good) was more classic food than the molecular cuisine I had expected from this restaurant so I returned later in the week to sample from the main menu and will review that experience here.

Location: A bit out of the way. I took me an extra ten minutes to find the red “Varvary” sign (in Cyrillic!) from the street. It’s tucked behind a steak house if I remember correctly and barely visible from Strastnoy Blvd. You walk down a long hallway upon entry and use an elevator to the 7th floor which opens into a split-level dining room overlooking the park. The atmosphere was a bit different: there is a lounge singer on the first floor (singing old 80’s tunes!) and a wide screen TV in the back that seemed to be showing hockey games. The upper floor (where I ate the second night) seemed to be a bit more formal and quiet.

Service: Very gracious and polite. I was literally treated like a king from the moment I walk in the door. There was a bit of a language problem but this doesn’t really bother me to be honest as my Russian is far worse than the staff’s English. The timing of the meal was a bit rushed, it seemed the plates came at a more hurried pace than I am used to; I’m not sure if this is how they serve the dishes or whether it was an aberration.

Food: I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a very sophisticated palate and tend to enjoy my food at places like this and not analyze it. That aside, as of this writing I’ve been to over 30 Michelin-starred restaurants on three continents and eaten at two restaurants that I would classify as molecular cuisine: “Alinea” in Chicago and “Aronia de Takazawa” in Tokyo. I would like to think I can recognize a talented kitchen when I see one and the bottom line here is these guys are very impressive. I had eleven courses and there was not a misfire among them. Among my favorites were the molecular Borsch, an excellent ice-cream “gazpacho” with lobster bisque, and a dumpling with Kamchatka crab. Oh, and the honey dessert: absolutely divine.

Summary: I’ve had time to reflect a bit on the meal now (and my trip to Moscow) and have come to two conclusions. First, this is a great restaurant and those looking for a multi-course meal using modern techniques will not be disappointed. Second, Mr. Komm appears to be doing something else here instead of just feeding diners. He is clearly proud of his Russian heritage and uses molecular cuisine as a way to open the door for us foreigners to the many fascinating things a country like Russia has to offer. Would I trade a visit to the Kremlin or St. Basil’s for this place? Of course not, but Vavary has to be among the top choices for those who want to learn something about Russia’s rich culinary history and eat a memorable meal while doing it.

I rate Varvary among my top dining experiences since my first Michelin meal at Margaux in Berlin almost six years ago and look forward to returning the next time I pass through Moscow. Thanks to everyone at the restaurant for a great experience.

  • Visited March 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank midway42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
111 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“Russian molecule kitchen - expensive but interesting”
Reviewed April 14, 2010

Chef Anatoly Komm is a former fashion designer. Keeping this in mind and noting that Anatoly spent quite some time on dining area instead of the kitchen one couldn't avoid thought he is nowadays more an image of a restaurant while food is taken care by some other of the 18 cooks in this restaurant, perhaps an Italian chef who also visited some guests.
Set menu of 12+2 courses (7500 rubles) were not too much to eat, both sizes and pace was taken care well. Wine menu was extensive, and extraordinarily expensive. Average prize of a red wine was about 20 000 rubles (about 500 euros), although there were some under 5000 rubles also. You can get two whites and two reds by a glass. Barbaresco Albino Rocca ('02 if I remember it right) was 9900 rubles. Sommelier knew his business well.
Varvary is a "molecule-kitchen" restaurant. As many of us know, it is something not an easy task. While Alinea in Chigago, Fat Duck and obviously El Bulli (although I have not an honour to visit it yet) have made it an art, Varvary belongs to the cast of most other molecular diners. Varvary did succeed few dishes extremely well, for example beetroot maki rolls and "clear Bloody Mary". Most were "just okay" and some fairly disgusting, such as ultra greesy potato chips with scampi. Three desserts but no cheese was kind of a strange resolution.
This is absolutely a good restaurant, I would expext it to be among Moscow's best, but unfortunataly prices are set so high that value for money is poor.

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Helpful?
2 Thank dr_aaltonen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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