Everyone who comes becomes a friend
In order to open a restaurant in the center of Moscow, where there is unbelievable competition, you need to be brave and sure of yourself. This is precisely the kind of person that the experienced restaurateur Brad Farmerie and his Moscow partners are. Five years ago they opened their restaurant Saxone + Parole on Spiridonievsky Pereulok, which in this short period of time has become a cult sensation in the Russian capital.
In Russia, as frequently happens, everything began from a good drink, or, more accurately, at a bar. Saxone + Parole was opened in Moscow as a bar open in the evenings only. However, it soon began to resemble its, let’s say, “older brother,” the Saxone + Parole restaurant in Manhattan, New York. This restaurant belongs to AvroKO Hospitality Group, which is owned by the Farmerie brothers. These brothers, however, are not just businessmen. One of them – Brad Farmerie – is a Michelin-star chef. It is a good combination – a feel for business and refined gastronomic tastes, is it not?
It was this feel for business that led the Farmerie brothers to name their restaurant Saxone + Parole. ‘What does that mean?” asks everyone who has ever heard of it. They are very surprised when they learn that Saxone + Parole were two race horses, well-known in the USA in the XIX century. Well? This creative name made the restaurant’s sign – two horses looking at each other, famous both in New York and in Moscow. (The brothers plan to open their third restaurant in Oakland, New Zealand.)
Insofar as the Moscow Saxone + Parole is part of a franchise, everything in it is the same as the New York restaurant of the same name. The difference is practically impossible to spot, no matter how hard you try. It has the same comfortable designer interior with fireplaces, the same rich, diverse American-Asian menu. The menu, however, is not exactly the same. “Yes, the menus are a bit different, which is easy to understand,” says Pavel Fedorkov, 30-year-old chef in the Moscow restaurant. “The fact is that it is hard to find certain ingredients in Moscow – groceries, herbs, spices, which are not a problem to buy in New York. In this case, we change them out with something similar. Of course, the quality of the dishes does not suffer as a result.”
Regardless, the quality does not suffer in any way, under any conditions. Quality for Saxone + Parole is their key word. This mark of quality is on everything, from the attentive service to the careful preparation of dishes, where every detail is important. It is not surprising that those who come to the restaurant, according to Pavel, do not like when they are called clients. “They prefer a different, warmer word – friends,” the chef notes, smiling.
They feed their friends, naturally, from the heart. Those who first came to the restaurant do not need to take long to consider the menu. You can safely order anything. Who could refuse baked marrow bones with capers and parmesan, pumpkin soup, the seafood tower, which includes oysters, shrimp, salmon sashimi, smoked mussels, or beef cheeks, lamb saddle, not to speak of real New York steak?
Brad Farmerie controls the quality so that Saxone + Parole’s friends are never disappointed in their favorite restaurant. Oh yes, he flies in from New York twice a year to check on the restaurant and taste-test everything. “Every one of his trips is a colossal event. We get prepared for it and truly wait for this event, which is important for each and every one of us,” Pavel Fedorkov relates. He, by the way, speaks with Brad quite frequently. As soon as he needs to consult with Brad about preparing one or another kind of dish, Pavel gets in touch with Brad by Skype and discusses the problem. Pavel is assisted in cooking by 16 people who are able to serve around 200 people at a time, which the restaurant’s main dining hall, fireplace hall, and bar are able to accommodate.
Saxone+Parole’s bar is its own story. It is not by accident that everything began here. There really are cocktails here for every taste. Moreover, they are updated four times a year. The bar offers not just classic cocktails, but also non-alcoholic and dessert cocktails. In addition to all this, Saxone + Parole also offers cocktail fanatics an unbelievable service, called “Bring your own bottle.” Cocktails which you enjoy during tasting – which takes place every first Wednesday of every month – are poured into your own personal bottle, which then has your name written on it and is placed in a shelf in a special locker. There the bottle can be kept for a few months if, of course, you and your friends do not drink it before then! This is easy to do, in so far as the bartender – 29-year-old Oksana Zhidkova – is a true wizard, who not only knows her business to the finest details, but also loves it. Every one of her cocktails is a work of art, where the secret ingredient that Oksana adds without fail is passion.