The first Ukranian cuisine to hit the London restaurant scene
Where? 12 Waterloo Place, London SW1Y 4AU (020-7484 1355, www.divo-restaurant.com)
Sounds divine. What is it? In the fevered debate as to what will be the next big thing on the London restaurant scene, it’s fair to say that Ukrainian cooking has scored nul points. Spotting a gap in the market the size of a former Soviet republic, Divo claims to be London’s first luxurious Ukrainian restaurant.
What’s on the menu – chicken kiev? If your preconceptions of eastern European food revolve around beetroot and dumplings… you’d be right! Expect warm and hearty cooking that’s perfect for autumn: follow up a bowl of borscht (beetroot soup) or pidshuboyu (beetroot salad with pickled herring, apple and onion) with dumplings filled with potatoes, cheese and cabbage, topped with shkvarky (fried salted pork fat and onions). Caviar is on hand for something lighter. Expect to spend about £50 a head with wine if you steer clear of the sturgeon eggs.
Sounds a bit rustic for central London While the food is all about homely warmth, designers have gone to town on the decor – the town in question being St Petersburg, taking the sumptuous Mariinsky Palace as their inspiration. London’s largest collection of vodka is housed in a baby blue bar, wrapped in lashings of gilt. The mezzanine dining room, meanwhile, is designed to feel like a dacha, a typical country retreat of the Russian aristocracy.
But St Petersburg is not even in Ukraine… Quiet right. But the OTT furnishings should make London’s ever-growing population of Russian oligarchs feel right at home. For any other visitors, Divo – which is the Ukrainian word for unique – should live up to its name and offer a dining experience with a difference.
Need to know It took five painters two weeks of lying on their backs to paint Divo’s ceilings, depicting scenes from Ukrainian history: Michelangelo eat your heart out!