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On Kefir, Kvass, and Sparkling Wine: Where to Eat Okroshka

Places where the coolest summer soups are served

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There are many different ways to cool off: swim, drink something ice-cold, or eat okroshka—an iconic cold Russian summer soup. Every year, chefs de cuisine come up with new variations of the classic recipe. We have selected ten places around Moscow where the bases for okroshka are not limited to kefir and kvass, and where the ingredients go far beyond potatoes, radishes, and meat.

Kvass intended for okroshka is mixed with mustard and horseradish in advance, and then poured onto finely chopped brisket, beef tongue, and vegetables. As an unconventional alternative culinary solution, here, guests can try a cold soup with salted tomatoes: its liquid base, served in a tall transparent pitcher, should be carefully poured into a bowl with crayfish tails and vegetables.

Fahrenheit has opted for another age-old summer recipe: kholodnik, an iconic Polish dish dating to the days of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the late 18th century. The refreshing beet soup was praised by the famous Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz in his epic poem. The ingredients of the signature version here include baked beets, radishes, zucchini slices, and celery snowflakes. This place’s dessert menu includes strawberry soup with an ice cream made of sour cream.

The base of the cold soup with beef tongue, vegetables, and pomegranate is matzoni rather than kefir. If that seems a bit too simple, try the piquant cherry soup with a sorbet of wild berries.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, the project’s brand chef, likes to experiment with seasonal ingredients. The coolest summer soup is no exception. The special menu includes several types of okroshka, such as botvinya with smoked muksun and quail eggs, okroshka made of homemade kvass with veal cheeks, and a fish version with smoked muksun. The most unusual okroshka is a dessert made of strawberries, blueberries, and mulberries. Its liquid ingredients are kombucha, lime juice, and dry sparkling wine. Those who find it too peculiar can order beet soup seasoned with crushed currant ice.

This simple, high-quality version of okroshka presents no surprises: it is a classical mixture of radishes, onions, cucumbers, stewed beef, and abundant fresh herbs based on slightly tart kvass or delicate kefir according to the guest’s taste.

The menu of the carefully restored Shelkovodstvo pavilion is a modern offering with slightly muted nostalgic notes. As an alternative to the classic okroshka with boiled beef tongue, they serve okroshka with pastrami—both can be based on kefir or kvass.

In the two-story Boiler Room bar, the brainchild of the Noor Bar team at the Depot food market, okroshka is treated in an unusual way. For guests of the bar terrace, chef de cuisine Dmitry Pogorelov has created a soup constructor where Russian motifs give way to Asian themes. Everyone can give it a try. Kvass, kefir with yuzu, or cold borscht are offered as the base. Buckwheat, wheat, or Green Tea noodles replace potato, and pastrami, duck, or scallop can be chosen as fillings. All in all, there are 27 different variations of this summer soup which can be ordered at a fixed price.

The family restaurants offer cold soups that will appeal to everyone: gazpacho with crispy vegetables and avocado, okroshka with beef and tasty kvass, or healthy green soup.

They have created an interesting alternative to kvass: algae broth stewed in the oven for 12 hours in advance and cooled thereafter. It is poured onto a thinly sliced mixture of cucumbers, radishes, dill, and seafood—squid and clams.

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