Search Caviar Girl

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Sobranie - ticks too many boxes?

Sobranie Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sobranie [Sob-ra-ni-ye], in Russian means meeting or gathering, and is the name of the relatively new (7 months) restaurant in Victoria.

The concept is slightly mixed, as compared to Nikita’s in Chelsea (distinctly Russian menu), as the menu is made up of dishes with influences from Russia, Eastern Europe (Georgia and Azerbaijan (former USSR)), and France. A risky approach, which needs to be handled with care in order not to try and tick too many boxes.

France really stands out here as the odd one out, and mainly features in the 'main dishes' such as 'breast of duck', 'calves liver' (French style), 'moules mariniere' and 'escargots'. But the influence comes from the owner, who while being Azerbaijani born, is a ‘French’ chef and former proprietor of a French restaurant in Chiswick.
Russian blini with red caviar £9.50
Borsch £5.50
Coated Herring £5.95
There is a vast selection of cold and warm starters covering a variety of post soviet states, with stand out dishes such as herring, jellied ox tongue, Khachapuri and aubergine caviar. In terms of satisfying the 'Russian pallette' you can't really go wrong. The Borsch, which is one of the four soups available (I would have also liked to try the Ukha (clear fish soup)), was fragrant and tomato-ey, warm and soothing to the sole. 

The coated herring (layered salad), is possibly too much for one person as a starter, as it is a mayonaise based dish. This dish can be overbearing, but Sobranie's had a good layer of strong herring (important), and the grated egg added a pleasant creaminess to the texture. To have a more traditional experience, I would suggest sharing this dish with other starters on the table. 
Soft shell crab £21.50
Chicken Tabaka £12.95
The service is attentive, friendly and pasionate, and very willing to help out with the menu for those unfamiliar with the cuisine. 

Chiken Tabaka, a traditional Georgian dish recommended to by the owner, was beaming with flavour and juices and very tender (as it should be, although could've used a bit more garlic).

The buttery shoft shell crab, was rich in flavour but overpowering on its own. I am at a loss as to which 'side order' from the menu that it should be served with (as the only option is seasonal vegetables), but possibly a garden salad would do the trick.

Overall, a pleasant atmosphere, and spot on service from all parties on the floor. This is a good option if you are in the area.


  1. Interesting.. I remember going to a short lived and ill fated Ukranian fine dining restaurant on St James Street a few years back and while it's clear why the regional specialities don't travel as well as other nationalities, I do have a bit of a soft spot for the food. Normally get that from Bob Bob Ricard, may be tempted here... What's the pricing like? Are the dishes you have priced fairly standard?

  2. Grumbling Gourmet - Yep, the most expensive starter is the caviar at £9.50, and the crabs are the highest at £21 (highest by far). I wasnt sure about the sudden change in menu style for the mains, but i think it works, there is enough influence there.

    I must try Bob Bob!

    Also, for another alternative, Nikita's is a good choice for Russian :)