For me, a successful restaurant is a place that meets the following three criteria: dishes that are inventive but not pretentious, atmosphere that’s lively yet relaxed, and a price point that doesn’t sting in these Ruble-crushing times.
Which is why I liked Glenuill from the moment I set foot there, all cold and haggard, after my VDNKh Ferris Wheel misadventure. Afisha, Russian leisure/ review magazine, describes the year-old restaurant as an “explosive fusion of Italian, Greek, Korean and Japanese” — what real Australian cuisine is like, if Glenuill’s Aussie head chef is to be believed.
Is that REALLY what food is like down under? Not that I’d know. There were definitely no kangaroos or Hemsworth brothers around. On the plus side — no Vegemite either (that’s the only thing I know about Australian cuisine – they eat some weird stuff called Vegemite with everything. Oh, and they call barbecuing “barbie”).
The menu seemed like an array of creatively updated Russian-adjacent fare. I had a Tzatziki dip appetizer with black bread chips (super-good) and the most succulent chicken shashlyk with roasted red pepper sauce, goat cheese, spinach salad and caramelized onions served open-sandwich style. Loved it!
There are many more interesting-sounding (and -looking) but not overwrought dishes on Glenuill’s Facebook page: cod burger, pumpkin soup with eel and cream, smoked buckwheat porridge with roast duck, sorrel soup with egg, potato and sour cream…And although I am not a desserts person, I paused at some fresh, scrumptious-looking cakes. And everything is very reasonably priced.
Glenuill is located just off the intersection of Tsvetnoy Boulevard and the Garden Ring, but its interior is befitting a hip uptown Manhattan or Park Slope eatery — equal parts airy, modern and shabby-chic. Cute enough for a date, relaxed enough for a family brunch or a big get-together with friends. The staff is attentive without hovering, which is a delicate balance to achieve anywhere, but especially in Moscow, where some restaurants are still learning what “good service” really means.
So, will I be back for more “Australian”? Absolutely — that sorrel soup in particular is calling my name. Though it would be even better if Glenuill added some Hemsworths to the menu 😉