Trendiness With a Twist

MTPresnja has all the fashion cafe fixtures plus some interesting surprises.
They keep on coming -- those chocolate-and-gold upmarket fashion cafes with slick interiors and premium-priced menus. Moscow's latest installment, Presnja, recently opened not far from the Ulitsa 1905 Goda metro station and it faithfully follows all the rules, with only a couple of quirks to keep things interesting. The interior sticks religiously to the fashion formula found in swank cafes about town. Its color scheme is primarily chocolate brown, accentuated with gold and brass trim and fittings. The furnishings are minimalist in style, and the lampshades are oversized. A subtle paisley-like patterning is etched around the walls. The first hall receives plenty of light from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Just when it seems that the restaurant could not follow the formula more tightly, a couple of novelties become apparent, however. The plasma screens are devoid of Fashion TV's skinny models and show football instead.

The menu has a few surprises as well. Sneaking in behind the ruccola and tiger prawn salad (450 rubles) and the carpaccios (salmon -- 450 rubles, octopus -- 620 rubles and beef -- 480 rubles) are some humble but tasty pirozhki pies (meat, cabbage or apple -- all 40 rubles). Besides the mushroom risotto (480 rubles) and the penne with lobster in cream sauce (900 rubles), there is boiled corn on the cob with sea salt (210 rubles) and a range of shashliks (beef -- 690 rubles, lamb -- 670 rubles, pork --560 rubles, sturgeon -- 970 rubles and salmon --520 rubles). There's even a lula kebab for 410 rubles.

Wine starts from 185 rubles a glass for either red or white, but perhaps more welcome is the inclusion of Beamish Irish stout among the selection of draft beers (Hoegaarden, Spaten and Budweiser as well -- all 220 rubles for a half-liter). So strangely enough, at Presnja you can grab a kebab and drink a pint of Ireland's finest, all while watching sports -- certainly not something to be expected in cafes of this fine breeding.

Presnja, 7 Stolyarny Per., 253-9485, noon-midnight, M. Ulitsa 1905 Goda.