DANTE Kitchen + Bar:
A flavor rainbow
“Flavorful, delicious, positive” – these words are a great summary of everything about the restaurant DANTE Kitchen + Bar, which opened last spring in the center of Moscow, on Kuznetsky Most 3. Its cozy interior is pleasing to the eye, and the unusual food is a treat for everyone.
It’s no wonder that the tables of the new restaurant were full from early morning until late evening during the FIFA World Cup. “There were so many people that we even had to take some things off the menu, which usually has 40 items,” the 40-year-old restaurant chef Ignat Kulikov confessed. Are there any dishes on the menu that stand out in particular? “No, they’re all different,” Ignat says, “We have and international menu that combines several types of cuisines – French, Italian, Moroccan, Asian, Thai…”
This incredible combination of culinary styles is a real explosion of flavor, created by Ignat Kulikov himself. DANTE Kitchen + Bar really can be proud that the man behind the stove of the restaurant is a talented person with a unique life story. Ignat never planned to become a chef. He was born into a family of doctors. He lived in his father’s home country – Ghana, in Africa – until the age of eight. His parents met when his father was studying at the People’s Friendship University in Moscow. Both parents wanted their son to follow in their footsteps. After graduating from high school, Ignat continued his education at the State Fire Academy. So when Ignat Kulikov (he took his mother’s last name) started cooking, he had a degree as a professional firefighter! Believe it or not, Kulikov is a fire service captain – that’s the title he worked toward after graduating from the State Fire Academy.
Surprisingly, he first became interested in cooking during his time in this academy. While he was studying, he often went to different restaurants in Moscow in his spare time. And that’s when he got the idea to try his hand at the restaurant business.
This seemed like such a good idea to Ignat that he decided to pursue it. In 2010, he moved to New Zealand to attend the Eastern Institute of Technologies, where he studied culinary arts. While he studied, he worked in establishments like Mission Estate Winery, Cape Kidnappers Lodge, The Engine room, and the five-star Pullman Auckland Hotel, where he was a sous chef.
What was Kulikov most impressed by during his time in New Zealand? “The cuisine in New Zealand is very flavorful, there is nothing subtle about it,” Ignat says, “The reason is that it’s very diverse, encompassing just about every culinary tradition in the world. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since people from different countries live in New Zealand, and have been influencing the local cuisine for a very long time. If I were to give you a short description of New Zealand cuisine, it would be: flavorful, delicious, positive!”
Ignat applies everything he learned in New Zealand to his cooking at DANTE Kitchen + Bar, slightly adapting New Zealand cuisine for the Moscow crowd. The DANTE kitchen+bar menu features simple, but interesting dishes for every day of the week. The restaurant has dishes like Moroccan-style salmon with mashed potatoes and fennel, juicy Thai salad with beef ribs, lamb curry with smoked eggplant, vegetables and harissa sauce, baked tomato stuffed with pineapple and anise ice cream, and another 20 original dishes from the chef. In the menu there is an Italian pinza, and – a whole section of dishes for vegetarians. The menu also has the Italian pinza, and a number of dishes for vegetarians.
The restaurant on the ground floor also has an open bar that’s decorated in the style of a cozy home kitchen. The center features a small round island with bartenders behind the bar. The DANTE kitchen+bar drink menu features original cocktails from the Oksana Zhidkova – a bar chef who also works at the Moscow Saxon+Parole at the Patriarch’s Ponds. (This is no surprise, because DANTE kitchen+bar is a new project from Saxon+Parole’s Moscow founders). A separate draft bar category on the menu features draft cocktails on tap.
In the small but cozy space of the new restaurant, created by designer Yevgenia Uzhegova, everything is thought out to the smallest detail – original plants, the interplay of light and shade. The huge windows on both floors can open completely if necessary, turning the restaurant space into one large veranda. DANTE kitchen + bar is not an exotic Moscow establishment, but a restaurant with a cozy home atmosphere. When you step inside, you immediately feel comfortable and feel like you’re welcome here.
The restaurant’s originality isn’t limited to the menu and interior decor. The check is brought to customers in Dante Alighieri’s legendary book “Divine Comedy.” The thing is that in the beginning of the 20th century, the building that currently houses the restaurant used to be home to an Italian community named after Dante Alighieri. It had its own library and what we would call a consulate today, which gave visas to Russians travelling to Italy. Back then, there was a sign outside that read “Dante.” By naming the establishment DANTE kitchen+bar, the founders paid their respects to the location’s history.