“Anna” and “vegetarian” do not go together, unless to express how strongly “Anna is definitely NOT, in any way, a vegetarian, cannot imagine living without regular meat intake (chicken and fish don’t even count), and would somebody please pass a sirloin, medium rare?” It’s a good thing, then, that for the last couple of years FRESH has touted not just as the best vegetarian restaurant in Moscow, but as THE vegetarian restaurant for non-vegetarians.
I had no plans to check out FRESH and its “conceptual vegetarian cuisine” flavored with “Healthy is the New Sexy” motto, perhaps ever, because eating pretentious hipster tofu goes against my very nature. I popped in there on a Sunday afternoon because it was freezing out, and also I was told I might find organic cayenne pepper there (don’t ask; also – not sold there). First I almost broke out in hives over all those bright-eyed, healthy, happy people, but I really wasn’t ready to go back out into the cold (seriously, we’re talking hurricane winds and it’s supposed to snow for the next 3 days in Moscow, welcome to April!), so I figured — better death by a salad than hypothermia.
I am cringing to report that OMG FRESH was really, really good! I cannot even believe the things I ate and drank. First of all – a “Scrub Brush shot” of cucumber, spinach, lemon and salt. Then a pint of “Spring Sun” cleaning juice — cucumber, pear, ginger, lemon and chia seeds. My guacamole appetizer came with green apple slices, chipotle mayo, hot green peppers and organic whole-grain tortilla. But the piece de resistance was my very first ever veggie burger. These words feel blasphemous to write, and yet… FRESH’s Barbeque Burger is made from a mix of grains, legumes, and vegetables (there were definitely beets and carrots in it), served on a crispy multi-grain bun (of course), with tangy BBQ sauce, fried onion rings, aioli, savoy cabbage, marinated green chili peppers, lettuce and tomato. I still cannot believe I ate it, but it was so flavorful and satisfying, I almost didn’t miss the meat!
Other things that I liked about FRESH: they have organic beer and wine, at least a couple of dozen custom juice mixes, a special City Detox program, and though the menu is already pretty diverse, you can build your own dish with various interesting ingredients. Dishes I would like to try in the future: pineapple pancakes with maple syrup and sour cream for breakfast, avocado breakfast toast, miso veggie burger, nori maki with orange, sun-dried tomatoes and sunflower shoots, and a “Beach Mix,” which is an entree salad of grilled red peppers, zucchini and sweet potato with avocado, sun-dried tomatos, sunflower sprouts, olive oil, tamari, lemon, mixed herbs and goat cheese.
So yes, while FRESH seems like a vegetarian heaven I would passionately recommend it to everyone. Even a die-hard carnivore like myself.
You can read more about FRESH, it’s history, menu, and city detox program in English here.