Wonderland


If you have ever been in a long-distance relationship, you know that it sucks a big deal.
You barely met and you want to get to know this other person… But all you have in a pocket is whatsup messages and bad-connection video-calls. And this is so frustrating – you want to live this adventure, you want to taste it! So with common efforts you plan a meeting. But since your agendas are so complicated, it's not happening before some uncertain distant date. So with the absence of any real-life material, you have no choice but imagine how it will be… And of course your brain draws this perfect-ish image of this perfect-ish story… And when finally the day comes and you meet face to face… Well, you have to start over with the real human! And sometimes it's painful to realize that in fact this thing between you two is not exactly the same as your imagined love. Never happened to you ? Well... happens to me all the time. I mean with me and restaurants, of course.



Whether I accidentally bump into some restaurant's Instagram on the other part of the world, or I watch another episode of Chef's Table – my brain instantly starts producing a chain of images. How I will sit there, and how this young promising star-chef will bring his/her signature dish, and how it would taste, and how we will joke around… I image the music that would be playing, and the view outside the window, what kind of public would I be surrounded with. This mind-inflammation goes on for a while until the image slowly fades and I forget about this dream-meal… Unless… one day I finally pass by that city and get a chance to make the mini-dream come true.

Since one year maybe I was waiting to pass by Moscow to finally do it with The White Rabbit. What an irony : I've lived in Moscow for almost 5 years and now that I was not there anymore, I wanted so badly to be! I was intrigued : young and ambitious Vladimir Mukhin is working with local products, restoring from the history traditional Russian dishes that even I, a native Russian foodie, have never heard about. He finds this original ancient recipe (like moose lips, for example) and tries to interpret it in a modern language of a molecular gastronomy. All this in the extremely impressive and chic rooftop on the 16th floor in the middle of Moscow.

When you enter the restaurant, you get into a very posh and classy fantasy world, such an adult-Wonderland for privileged ones. The space is huge, with three levels, massively decorated in a shabby-chic dark fairytale style. The service is very Russian: very formal and official. You won't get a smiley- European small-talk from your waiter, you feel very quickly the distance between "you" and "them". In a way you do feel like Alice – surprised, fascinated and a bit overwhelmed. Everything around is very intense and concentrated : the décor, the huge amount of staff, the menu, the dishes. We took a degustation menu that was based on the concept of a contrast. Each dish was named according to the idea, for example: past-future, heaven-earth, joy-sorrow. The whole menu is a true theater performance. Each plate had its own little story, its original idea. One of the dishes was served on a little tree, another with a whistling doll, another one with the help of your smartphone transformed into virtual reality flower, and in the end of the meal we even got little perfumes of chef's creation. The concentration of ideas is astounding and overwhelming. I was impressed by the immense creative ability of Vladimir and every new surprising form of it. You don't simply get a good quality-dinner, but more of an on-table performance. As for the taste content – I felt like some of the dishes were truly mind-blowing in the mouth and others were more about the shape and impressing rather than giving an emotion. So you get out of the table a little dizzy from the impressions…And after all this delirious intensity you are kind of happy to go back home.

What else to say – if you seek an adventure, you must indeed follow the white rabbit.



12.10.2020