A meat feast and medieval music
The very beginning of Ulitsya 1905 Goda Street probably has more outstanding restaurants than any other location in Moscow. All of the establishments in this area are constantly looking for ways to outdo each other. But Bochka, which belongs to the famous Moscow restaurateur Andrey Dellos, stands out even among these fantastic food spots. Why? Because the menu features a lot of truly unique dishes that are impossible to find anywhere else.
If you haven’t been to Bochka yet, you haven’t really tasted a meat dish. And not just because Bochka specialized in cooking meat. There are many restaurants that can make the same claim. What sets Bochka apart is the kind of meat that’s used to prepare dishes, and how it’s cooked. “When we purchase meat, we never try to save money on it and always get the best thing on offer,” 53-year-old chef Igor Bednyakov says about the establishment’s guiding principle. All of the meat that’s served in the restaurant is fresh, never frozen. And it’s acquired exclusively from the best farmers.
Bochka is not a steakhouse. The restaurant also has a selection of fish dishes, different kinds of seafood, and even a lent menu. But meat is undoubtedly a bestseller at Bochka. Suffice it to say that the restaurant goes through an average of 100 kg of meat a day. This includes pork, beef, lamb, and poultry. The menu features over 40 meat dishes, some of which are inconceivable.
“Inconceivable” is not an exaggeration. How about a 60 kilogram young bull on a spit?
Where else will you get a chance to try something like this?
And the bull is prepared right in front of you, on a giant grill that’s located right in the same room. It’s made to order by blacksmith masters. The elaborate grill, which is 3.5X3.5 meters in size, is used to cook many other dishes, including sausages with different fillings and fragrant shish kebab with spices, which go well with wine from the extensive wine list that features selections from France, Italy, Chili, Germany, Austria, Australia, and New Zealand.
Fried meat, wine… It’s no wonder that these elements inspired a new kind of event that happens at Bochka every Saturday – spectacular middle age feasts to the sounds of old musical instruments. The restaurant’s interior also plays into the theme. The style is reminiscent of a French chalet: brick walls, columns, ceiling planks, stained glass windows, antique chandeliers, stained glass mirrors…
The bull on the spit is not the only dish that catches guests at Bochka completely off guard! By the way, the bull is served on Fridays. This is what the menu of dishes on the spit looks like on other days of the week: a beef shank on Mondays, a young lamb on Tuesdays, a turkey on Wednesdays, a pig on Thursdays, and meat delicacies for every taste at all times, regardless what day of the week it is. New York steak, ribeye steak, classic beef Stroganoff, chicken, roast veal liver? No problem! Plus, there is a wide selection of cold and hot snacks, soups, side dishes and sauces. Almost every dish is original and comes with its own backstory.
Where does the chef get ideas for all of these culinary creations? “Everywhere,” Igor Bednyakov says, “First, I’m always watching global trends and know what’s happening internationally, how culinary tastes change and where they’re going. Second, I get a lot of ideas during trips, both in Russia and abroad. Third, I often remember what I ate when I was a child. The recipe for the cutlets with baked pumpkin, which we have on our menu, was thought up a long time ago by my grandmother.”
Bochka’s chef had a delicious childhood. Everybody in his family was a fantastic cook. It’s no wonder that he has wanted to become a chef since he was 5 years old. “I was so determined that I never had any other dreams. I’ll confess that when my peers happily ran outside to play football or hockey, I gladly went to the kitchen and tried to cook something,” Igor says, smiling. Bednyakov graduated from culinary school and worked at a few good restaurants in Moscow, including Cafe Pushkin. After mastering his craft, he got an offer from Bochka, which is where he has worked for the past 15 years.
His work day starts at noon and ends after midnight, because Bochka is one of the few restaurants in the city that’s open 24 hours a day. But it’s not about how much time he spends at work. It’s about what he does when he’s there. “You know, when I’m cooking something, I become completely immersed in it,” the chef says, “Everybody in the kitchen knows this, so they don’t bother me, nobody asks me any questions. When it’s done and I see that the guest likes it and is enjoying eating it, I get goosebumps, that’s how happy I am.”