The Moscow restaurant scene has certainly evolved since the deep, dark, post-perestroika nineties with two main restaurant groups (Novikov and Ginza) filling the city with all sorts of restaurant concepts. Roni is part of the pioneer Novikov Restaurant Group (from Arkady Novikov) who started it all with Sirena (which already existed when I lived in Moscow) and now has an empire with almost 50 restaurants, food and beverage concepts (including the franchise for Krispy Kreme) and even Novikov TV which runs a never-ending loop of images and events on television screens which seems to be a typical Moscow restaurant accessory.
Roni is located on Petrovka street (where the only club on that street in the early nineties was Marika). Interiors are dark and modern with a large black and red chandelier serving as a focal point in the center of a square room with lanterns and black and white photographs. The open kitchen is on one side of the room alongside the bar where open shelves showcase Asian ingredients – bottles of chili sauce, oyster sauce, noodles – while open crates line the counter filled with dried chills and different spices.
I ate there twice in a week – once for lunch with girlfriends on a snowy day and again for dinner with A after an evening at the Bolshoi. Both times, the food was good, the atmosphere fun and the crowd interesting. Malaysian chef Mamu heads the kitchen and although the food is a melange of Asian cuisines catering mostly to what Russians like, it surprisingly works. For lunch, we shared several appetizers – a tuna tartar, some sashimi, seared scallops, fried gyoza and a wonderful salad mixed with crunchy duck in with a sesame-based dressing. For dinner, we had some miso soup, sweet and spicy fried chicken, tuna tataki and fried rice. It worked and gave us a much-needed Asian fix in Moscow.
Ulitsa Petrovka 20/1
Telephone: +7495 625 2606
*Open daily from noon to midnight