After ‘Made in Chelsea’, freakshow telly takes a few more leaps up the social strata with this look at the lives of Russians in London. The cast includes android-esque billionaire Mohammed – who’s invested £12 million in his tone-deaf wife’s singing career – jewel-studded fashion designers Julia and Alina and lots of people who seemingly exist purely to go to parties.
But they’re not all tasteless, super-rich morons. Take Dimitri, a fashion photographer and aspiring scenester, who left Russia to find a place where he could embrace his homosexuality. He’s as vapid as the rest, naturally, but there’s something undeniably sweet about his wide-eyed, gleeful stroll along Old Compton Street, epicentre of gay London.
Taken at face value, then, ‘Meet the Russians’ has pulled off the rare feat of being both trashy and socially relevant. Whether it can resist the descent into outrage-provoking sensationalism is another question, but if Dimitri’s camp, shrill exclamation of ‘maaaajor!’ doesn't become a hashtag, we'll eat our oversized bearskin hats.
This Italian restaurant in Mayfair comes from Russian restaurateur Mikhail Gokhner. It specialises in authentic wood-fired pizzas, with options ranging from a margherita and a Napoletana to a quattro formaggi, a diavola, a calzone con prosciutto and a pizza bocconcino - topped with the mozzarella balls from which the venue takes its name. It's not all about the pizzas, though. Antipasti such as raw Sicilian red prawns and boards of cured Tuscan meats lead into wild boar ragu tagliatelle, black ink fish ravioli and orecchiette with aubergine, tomatoes and salted ricotta. Much of the seafood and meat is cooked over an open fire. Wines play an important part on the drinks list, with bottles from well-known winemakers in Italy's big-hitting regions alongside those from small, artisan producers. Cocktails include bellinis, negronis and Aperol spritzes.