It’s time to tell you about a drinker’s Mecca in Moscow – Delicatessen Café. Have you not tried a Pedro Manhattan or iron-roasted horse meat tartar? Then, go as fast as you can to Moscow City straight to Sadovo-Karetnaya 20!
There is only one place in Moscow, which I like more than Delicatessen, and it’s Youth Café owned by the same people, but we’ll return to it later. Delicatessen is the brainchild of restaurant geeks cause and it manifests itself in everything starting from the atmosphere to cocktails with order numbers that are sealed with wax. The owners are always seen inside, but not as outside observers or supervisors, but as active participants, as attentive hosts, like a cook, like a bartender or a waiter. And they are endowed with such a natural charm, especially Slava Lankin, that it seems as if you drank more than one bottle of port wine together – as if you had known him for a long time, although you meet him for the first time.
Slava Lankin treats the bar with passion, with awe, with drive. Deli is already about 7 years old, but there is always something happening there: the tireless team always keeps rolling the ball – cocktails, nastoykas, coasters with ironic puns (instagram celebrities), now they shoot short, but mouthwatering videos about dishes. So you check one of those videos and the romance is again brought back to your life, you just want to take a purse and take a luggage-free flight to Moscow for a day or two. There is revealing and indisputable sincerity and simplicity in everything. Pizza (with a fancy recipe) on a thin metal plate, blossoms with stove heat straight to the soul, masterfully made cocktails are hypnotizing. By the way, there are also short video sketches, for example, how an exotic jackfruit transforms into Milk Punch, or Slava’s voice-over tells you why Pedro Manhattan is the hit of the bar, and why he needs a counter. In the menu there is an excellent feature – the thesaurus: you don’t need to call the waiter if you don’t know what kind of fruit you see – everything is explained right there. A mindblowing pizza with roasted strips of beef and duck ragu, hidden under a colored lasagna sheet, encrusted with leaves and twigs of herbs, I was simply blown away.
I must say that the first time I went to Deli, I was amazed. I expected something more Moscow-ish, more formal and just something bigger. The sign at the entrance “thank you for finding us”, which led to this nice cellar, immediately made us smile and set us in the mood for something very special. Though, we picked the wrong day – Friday is not the best night to chat with the bartenders at the counter. We did not make a reservation, but yet they managed to fix a small place for us, at a large table made of a printing press (?); we were surrounded by the red walls with stone stamps printed on them (from the same press?). Deli is packed and noisy, but after a couple of cocktails you become a part of this merry flow, you are trying to come up with new word chains for coasters on a bet, but then you come up with nothing, you just laugh and order another cocktail.
Sadovo-Karetnaya Str., 20 Building 2 (entrance from the backstreet), Moscow
Tue-Thu 12:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Fri- Sat 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Su 12:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Mon – closed