Culinary Nomalism has finally blazed a trail to lowly Petersburg, ex-capital of All the Russias.
EM is a unique modernist [sic] cuisine restaurant where everything from the bread to the coffee is prepared on an AGA cooker in the open-kitchen dining room.
December — January
Spinach brioche with black caviar and edamame cream
Shrimps with cauliflower and red tea sauce
Neat’s tongue with baked portobello and blue tea chips
Walnut with prunes mousse and powdered porcini
Sterlet with grey cheesecake and raspberry sauce
Stewed lamb with yellow tomatoes in different textures
Sea buckthorn souffle with coconut
Since just about everyone in Petersburg is (not) rolling in money, Nomalism’s advent in the city, which has just been celebrating the latest anniversary of the lifting of the 900-day Nazi Siege that killed off half its population in living memory, could not be timelier. At this eatery, the bimonthly non-vegan set menu (“Classic Set”), as listed above, will cost you 3,500 rubles (approx. 55 euros), sans wine.
That would be a steal for the actual Noma crowd, of course, but not so cheap for the vast majority of the city’s population. The average monthly old age pension in Petersburg is, supposedly, around 12,000 rubles (approx. 188 euros), while the average monthly salary is around 31,000 rubles (approx. 485 euros).
Who, then, are the clientele for this haute bourgeois splurgery?
These middle-aged women, picking their way across pavements caked with sand and dotted with islets of ice, hard-trodden snow, and frozen slush, because the city government is too poor or too feeble to remove them the good old-fashioned way?