During my stay at the The Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg, Russia, the review of which you can read here, I enjoyed a once in a lifetime experience dining at the exclusive Caviar Bar And Restaurant in St. Petersburg. I enjoyed the experience so much, I wanted to share it with you today.
Caviar Bar And Restaurant
On my dream holiday in Russia I wanted to dine like a Tsarina for just one night and booked myself a table at St. Petersburg's only caviar restaurant located at the Belmond Grand Hotel's - Caviar Bar and Restaurant.
Caviar Bar And Restaurant
The menu boasts 15 types of caviar, 12 Dom Perignon vintages, 35 types of vodka and 15 varieties of distillate. There is also an superb collection of domestic liquors and liqueurs. Russia's only full time professional vodka sommelier gave me his undivided attention as he guided me through the Caviar Bar's impressive selection of blended vodka range.
In addition, the restaurant has its own dedicated Dom Perignon ambassador, who has developed a champagne and caviar pairing experience. After taking the advice of the expert, I selected a fine glass of Dom Perignon which I enjoyed while looking over the menu.
Source/Credit: Belmond Grand Hotel Europe: Restaurant Menu Extract
Deciding to splurge I chose the Caviar Bar Cocktail, which included a fine selection of 5 types of caviar served with traditional condiments including blinis, toast, potatoes, sour cream and chopped eggs and was served with the choice of a shot of Polugar single malt or glass of Champagne. Hmmm, another glass of champagne, it sure sounded good to me.
As I waited I perused the restaurants other menu's to get a glimpse of the amazingly expensive food and beverages on offer at prices I've not seen in my lifetime - and I've dined at some pretty fancy restaurants over the years.
As an example the twin set menu option comprised 40cl glass of Louis XIII paired with 30 grams of Beluga black caviar and 30 grams of exclusive Oscietra albino caviar costing 129,000 RUB / USD$2,195 / AUD$2,745 / GBP$1,697
In a corner booth in a secluded part of the restaurant, my attention was caught by a group of Russians - about seven in total who were dressed to the nine's and enjoying non-stop table service as a plethora of fine dining waiters wafted back and forth with an array of top shelf alcohol and never ending plates of caviar. Although the weather was warm the ladies dining at the table had left their mink wraps and designer labeled jackets in the cloak room as they relaxed at the table.
Within a short period of time, my waiter returned and served me a delicious, if not unusual looking plate and offered to explain to me how to eat caviar. For the uninitiated - such as myself at the time, there are in fact two ways to eat caviar,the traditional way and the modern way.
The traditional way includes using first the small spoon (which can be seen to the right of the plate) scooping then placing a small amount on the back of the hand between the thumb and forefinger, allowing it to rest for a moment to come up to the same temperature as the body before again scooping it up and placing it on a blini with any number of the supplied accompaniments. The traditional way of course includes sipping vodka while eating.
The modern way of eating caviar is to drink it in combination with champagne and negating the need for placing the caviar on your hand before eating.
My dish comprised five different types of caviar including the following which are to be eaten in a particular order, beginning with the lower grade caviar (Pike) and building up to the high end Oscietra Imperial so as to finish the meal with the best taste.
Russian Pike caviar is generally sourced from the Caspian Sea region. This particular caviar was processed according to preferred Russian Malossol Standard which means it is low in salt.
While black caviar may have the higher price tag, Russia red caviar is still a savored delicacy in Russia today.
'Pressed' caviar, 'Payusnaya' in Russian is a pressed caviar with a smooth, dense, nicely salty paste made from the fish eggs that break during the packing of traditional caviar. It is treated, highly salted and pressed to a jam like consistency. Once the only method available for preserving caviar, pressed caviar is still the favorite of many connoisseurs for its strong, concentrated flavor.
The Sevruga sturgeon produces the smallest roe of the three main caviar varieties. More plentiful than the other two, it is also the least expensive. Its roe is black to very light grey in color and like Beluga, it has a buttery flavor but saltier, richer, and more intense. It's unique flavor is highly valued.
5. Oscietra Imperial
Russian Imperial Ossetra caviar is amongst the rarest of all caviar. Hand selected when the sturgeon is at its prime, Imperial caviar consists of an exceptionally large roe with earthy-nut flavors and a silky texture that was traditionally reserved for royalty.
After my second glass of champagne I decided to sample from the vodka sommelier's trolley and had in total two shots including a blend containing and infusion of dill and another containing a local berry.
Both were delicious and a wonderful way in which to round out a truly outstanding dining experience. All up, my solo dining experience including dinner and drinks came to a total of just under 22,570 Rubles or AUD$480 / USD$383 / GBP$297
Oh, and my favorite caviar - would have to be the Sevruga, the salty smooth finish and delicate flavor was simply divine.