I was recently not allowed to buy a sofa throw I very much wanted because it apparently 'did not fit in with the décor' of our current living room. The throw was striped blue and white, with the occasional sea-shell dotted about it. The irritating thing is that while it does not currently fit in with our (rather boring) living room, it was in fact the start of a brand-new redecoration of our flat, in which each room was going to be themed around a different geographical phenomenon. The living room, naturally, was to be the sea, whilst I was hoping my own bedroom could be a forest. I had been tramping my muddy trainers across my carpet for days before my flatmate asked the cleaner to remove all my hard work.
I am a big fan of themes, which does not mean that I like fancy dress parties, but does mean that I very much enjoy locations which are set out around a basic tenant. The Old Bengal Bar in New Street did this very well during Wimbledon, transforming their lovely outdoor space into an homage to British tennis, with carefully placed tennis balls and lawn. I'm making it sound bizarre, but it really wasn't. It was bright and themed and excellent. I went back last week but they'd taken the theme down, which made me so sad I had to have 3 of their delicious Mojito Royals, a freshly-made mojito topped up with champagne, just to cope.
Which is why I am absolutely thrilled about the upcoming opening of Ruskis Tavern, from the same people who previously provided me with the also-themed Bodo's Schloss. Bodo's Schloss I believe was meant to be themed around a ski-chalet, but it looked a lot like it was themed around English people's stereotypes of Bavaria. Which is nothing to be sneered at whatsoever.
An evening spent in Bodo's meant one was surrounded by waitresses in lederhosen, beers served in those endlessly impractical metre long platters, which instantly provoke a desire to simply slurp straight along the endless stretch of beer, and clientele frequently accessorized with ski-gear.
Ruskis is slightly different- an underground Russian vodka and caviar bar, which will serve traditional Russian food alongside endless shots, served handily in Matryoshka dolls, those mildly addictive Russian dolls which open to reveal a smaller version of themselves, in a more innocent version of the human centipede. I am not precisely sure how these dolls will be fashioned as shot-holders, but am very much hoping for some kind of sizing system, where guests can bet on how large a doll-shot they can handle as they order.
The food is being done by Scott Hallsworth, who is the ex-head of Nobu, which explains why steak tartare and smoked salmon will be served alongside caviar and chips.
I personally am a huge fan of chips with anything, but unsure if the Russians eat their caviar with them. In that respect, Ruskis looks set to be a perfect counterpart to Bodo's Schloss' theme-lite; foreignness as suited to the drunk English. This is borne out in their end-of-night hangover cure offering: a black bread, steak tartare and caviar-layered sandwich. I can only imagine how neatly these extravagant sandwiches will be eaten.
Ruskis promises to house the largest collection of vodka in London, and assures me that their house pour is the elegant Beluga vodka. Personally, I am deeply enamoured with any alcohol which presents itself as 'elegant', as I feel assured that the more of it I drink, the more elegant I too become.
Ruskis opens this September on Kensington High Street and its founders, Diego Bivero-Volpe and Antoin Commane, are delighted to welcome people to what they are calling a 'den of delights'. "We want our guests to drink with comrades and dine like Tsars," They comment. I cannot wait to invite them to my redecorated living room, where they can 'drink whilst pretending to be a fisherman, and try to avoid my housemate's wrath.'
1A Kensington High Street, London, W8 5NP