“The restaurant Moscow never knew it needed”
For our latest post, I would like to say a few words but hand off the rest of the review to a good friend of mine.
I’ve been to many restaurants here in Moscow and I have to say, by and large, many of them are cookie cutter fashion. Like my food, I like establishments to have a little bit of personal style to them. Sempre, over on Bolshoi Dmitrovka pours it on with a style all their own. Run by Gust Sempre, restaurant decor supplier turned restauranteur, plays the role perfectly!
Sempre is a counter-culture restaurant located in the heart of Moscow, Russia. With a self-proclaimed slogan of, “Our benches are small – so don’t bring an idiot”, there’s no wonder this place is kicking up a stir in the food community!
Sempre is home to a jungle-like dream world. From the moment you lay your hand on the front door, with its iron-crafted logo welded to steel and glass, you can’t help but wonder what awaits you. Well, you won’t have to wait long because as soon as you enter your eyes are drawn towards the ceiling. Larger than life hand-woven Lumpur lamp shades dangle from the rafters, accompanied but a multitude of plant life!
The menu is entirely in English, revealing a list of “feel good” food including items like a BBQ Tray of Chicken, Pork and Beef Ribs and mouth-watering salmon with a sauce that you’ll just have to try! The brick oven-roasted bread with garlic (pesto?) dip was garlicky and amazing!
Like I said, it’s hard to find a place that you can truly feel a peace, but Sempre does it with ease. Now, before I let my friend tell you about his experience, I’ll just say this:
- I like the location, the atmosphere, the food, service, and culture that Sempre offers – it’s second to none!
- The menu is small by comparison (it will be expanding as the restaurant grows)
- To be honest to the average customer, the food prices are slightly high. This is to be expected given that it’s a new restaurant, its obvious awesome location and well, simply take one step inside the place and not only will you understand that it cost a fortune to outfit the place, but that second step will firmly tell you that it doesn’t really matter. Take my money – the experience is worth it!
You can find Sempre on:
Sempre: A Total Experience
Going to Sempre by taxi was easy enough in the city center. Upon entry, to a somewhat dim and warm threshold, we were informed that it was a cash-only establishment for the time being. No matter, as two minutes north was a Sberbank ATM with street access.
Returning and being led into the rear of the restaurant, we passed the uniquely designed hand washing stations and sat near where Sempre the cat likes to spend his time.
The staff was very competent and familiar with most of the English involved in a restaurant experience.
We decided to order the Sempre starter platter (Pro Tip: if the restaurant/chef/owner has their name on a dish, try that first), the chicken and beef ravioli.
While we waited we took in the atmosphere properly, wondering how the tables were aged to the point that they were and enjoying the imperfections in the glasses. We even attempted to raise our table somewhat using the very rusted mechanism beneath but to no avail.
We ordered a Long Island iced tea – I base how capable a bar is on how well they can cram four kinds of alcohol together and be convincing that it’s not, Sempre here passes, and an off menu Mojito, which was expertly made.
The food was expertly made and with no small skill, but the real star was the sauces. Perfect consistency and level of spice. A chipotle sauce that wasn’t separating, a white pepper sauce that was almost as smokey as the chipotle, a kimchi that was thoroughly enjoyable and perfectly soft and crunchy at the same time.
Sauces so good we really thought about ordering another dish just to try more.
For dessert, we ordered brownies and ice cream, with a side of heavy cream. The brownies were perfectly soft and sticky, with the ice creams perfect balance to the richness.
A fellow patron decided to play the piano for a time, which was absolutely beautiful. A handful of more rowdy patrons showed up for a time but after a single drink, they left.
Overall the whole experience was fantastic and spending around 6800 was well worth it.
– Dan Lundin, local expat