The latest addition to Danilovsky market's expanding food court is Ferma Nikola-Lenivets (Nikola-Lenivets farm). Last fall it started life as a humble vegetable stall, but this spring sees it blossom into a full-blown café.
The café operates on a farm-to-table philosophy, promoting organic products and a seasonal, healthy menu. The actual farm is located near Nikola-Lenivets, a pastoral retreat where the bohemian Archstoyanie Land Art Festival has taken place for the last decade. This rustic ethos has also influenced the design — long wooden benches jostle for space with several artistic structures crafted at the settlement's creative workshops.
Owners Sergei and Anna Morozov say that they "only feed people what we grow ourselves." Sergei is a former rock musician while Anna studied public relations. They decided to explore their roots and moved to a village near Nikola-Lenivets where they owned a plot of land. In many ways, a labor of love became a profession.
When Archstoyanie began gaining popularity, the Morozovs opened a salad bar at their farm to offer hungry festival-goers a healthy food alternative. The farming community in Nikola-Lenivets is close-knit, and the Morozovs source their meat and cheese from neighboring Grant's Farm.
The Morozovs profess an interest in historic Russian cuisine and pre-revolutionary recipes, such as "telnoye" — pike cutlet — (400 rubles) or the millet breakfast porridge with prunes and garlic (100 rubles). Another rediscovered dish is the delicious chicken pate (350 rubles), a fresh take on a recipe published by the tsar's family in 1853.
Other noteworthy menu choices include the one-minute steak (500 rubles) which is complimented by traditional fried potatoes with onions and mushrooms (200 rubles). Lighter options include purple carrot and baked pumpkin salad (150 rubles) or croutons with sun dried tomatoes and homemade cheese (150 rubles). Accompany your meal with their speciality cranberry drink (100 rubles) or Ivan Chai herbal tea (50 rubles).
The menu changes regularly as the focus is on fresh, seasonal dishes. If you live in Moscow but yearn for a taste of the countryside, you'll enjoy this eatery and its earthy, lovingly-sourced fare.