Garden Ring near Paveletskaya, Moscow, Russia
Website: Not supplied
Style: Restaurant bar
One of Mosow's most talked-about restaurants at present, this is the home of Alexander Kahn, once described as the 'Russian Nick Strangeway' except with tidier facial hair. Mechta can be found across the road from the Swissôtel, home of City Space.
Mechta, which means 'dream' in Russian, is on the site of a former bank and from the outside, the bulky, grey stand-alone building looks anything but like what you find inside. The reception is big and welcoming, with an open window into the bar which lies directly behind it. It's bright and homely, with engrossingly comfortable sofas as well as a few seats at the bar.
The bartenders are without doubt some of the best in town and are efficient, clean and unassuming. The menu is inspired much by the influence of Russian seasonal fruits, herbs and spices. The Seasonal drink (at the time of writing, mid-Autumn) is a remarkable taming of the intense flavours of sea buckweed, a sour and pungent smelling berry also common along England's south coast. Other great recommendations are the now contemporary classics of the Silver Birch Martini (vodka and silver birch juice) and the magnificent and as yet unnamed Uzu sour. We think the drinks here were the best in the city.
When you step through into the restaurant, the dining room is deceptively large but still feels pretty cosy. The food is excellent here, and like the drinks are based around a set of traditional Russian, and in particular Kazakh, dishes. Somewhat pricey, but very rewarding, Mechta is a real treat and a strong candidate for the ideal dinner stop on a tour of Moscow bars. 5/5