December 17, 2019
The new cuisine of the Russian twins
Last July, they landed in Spain’s capital city to design a menu with Paco Roncero for the La Terraza del Casino restaurant in Madrid. That day, they made it clear that they had become the perfect duo to contribute – alongside other countrymen and women – to putting Russian cuisine on the world’s gastronomic map. The Berezutskiy brothers are practically identical - at least physically - but when it comes to their personality, one is smiling, communicative and almost a chatterbox (but always in Russian, the language they prefer to use when talking about their cooking, although they speak excellent English). This duality of personalities is probably one of the ingredients that put their restaurant, Twins Garden, at number 19 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
This haute-cuisine Moscow restaurant opened in 2107 against all odds, as the twins Ivan and Sergey Berezutskiy had resisted working together. Or rather, the former did not want to go into business with the latter. In fact, for years, their paths were separate. Ivan Berezutskiy worked at great restaurants, such as elBulli and El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, while Sergey Berezutskiy worked at restaurants, such as that of Anatoly Komm in Russia, and in the US at Alinea.
In 2014, the latter entered the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition with the proviso that if he won, his brother would work together with him to set up an haute-cuisine restaurant. Sergey won. Ivan had to give in and accept that their destiny was to work together, to bring to the table their experiences, skills and dreams to create the perfect restaurant that each one had in his head. The result came about in 2017 with Twins Garden, their Moscow restaurant, which quickly became one of the best in the world.
They complemented their initial project, called Twins, with a new location and with a vegetable garden to create Twins Garden, a space where 80-90% of the produce is grown by them in the region of Kaluga, a few hours from Moscow.
Their goal? On the one hand, to reinterpret Russian cuisine and highlight the country’s pantry of ingredients; in other words, using the philosophy others (from the Basque Country to Catalonia to Scandinavia) have successfully applied to the same end in Russia. On the other, to knead modernity and contemporary techniques into their country’s gastronomy. In addition, they say that their project ‘can be seen from two angles: one, from a more scientific and innovative view; and the other from a more natural and essentialist perspective.’ More ingredients must be added to the list: 70% of the produce they cook with comes from their farm (150 types of vegetables grow on 125 acres), and the restaurant has also developed an almost zero-waste system.
From the rooftop of a Moscow skyscraper, they offer a tasting menu of 40 ‘things’, with dishes like: crab and cabbage; sea snail from the Far East with chanterelles and sweet cherries; and blackcurrants with horseradish; aside from various dishes of sturgeon. Their liquid offering is based on their wine cellar that has one of the most impressive collections of wines in Russia, and includes plant-based wines invented by the twins and with Twins Wine Space as a complementary concept.
A year after opening, Twins Gardens was ranked at number 72 on the World’s Top 100 list, ascending 53 places last June to reach number 19 on the global ranking.
The twins also have a more casual eatery called Wine and Crab that revolves around wine and dishes made with Russian crab. And last but not least, they give back via the Twins Fund Foundation.
Marta Fernández Guadaño