Time Out says
Friendly warning! We're working hard to be accurate. But these are unusual times, so please check that venues remain open.
Please note, Sobranie is now closed.Time Out Food & Drink editors, Nov 2015.
Our hearts skipped a beat when we heard that a new Russian restaurant had recently opened near Victoria station. Despite a sizeable community in London, quality Russian eateries are still a rare find.
The location of Sobranie – a glass-walled unit near the Victoria Place shopping mall – does not immediately suggest cosiness nor the ‘French refinement’ the website promises. But we were greeted with a smile and warm service.
Sobranie (‘gathering’ or ‘collection’ in Russian) moves away from serving purely Russian fare – perhaps a clever move, considering Victoria’s office and tourist crowd. The menu features a very curious combination of Soviet classics, Caucasian favourites (the owners are from The Caucasus) and French staples (snails and calves’ livers).
But the interior – parquet floors, live keyboard music and space for dancing – made us nostalgic for the good old USSR (a sentiment that perhaps not everyone shares).
The food, however, was perfectly decent. We went for mostly Russian dishes: a Russian vinegret salad (beetroot with red kidney beans) and borsch were fresh, if slightly under-seasoned; herring dressed with mayonnaise, eggs and beetroot (a dish also known as ‘herring under fur coat’) was moreish.
A spatchcocked chicken was juicy, and a rack of lamb came quite pink. The best dish was dumplings filled with beef, which were light and tasted ownmade. A dessert of kartoshka (a biscuity ball of cocoa) was nicely bittersweet, although the famed Napoleon – layers of pastry and custard – was on the dry side. The wine and vodka list was uncharacteristically short.
Our main complaint was with the prices. Charging £10.95 for a dozen dumplings or £16.95 for four or five tiny pieces of lamb with a handful of vegetables is difficult to justify (although we were told there is a lunch special for £12.95).
Disappointing, despite the warmth of the service and care shown in the cooking.
8 Fountain Square, 123-151 Buckingham Palace Road
|Transport:||Tube: Victoria tube/rail|
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