Dine + Design: There's Something for Everyone at Moscow's the Y Restaurant
From its wide-ranging menu to its secret kids' room, this lifestyle concept gives new meaning to family-style dining.
What's better than finding a restaurant with incredible food? Finding one that's also beautiful. Each week our editors spotlight one of the most stunning eateries around the country, showcasing how inspired interior design can enhance the dining experience. Follow along with Dine + Design to see where we go next.
Pinterest has its place in interior design, just not in the design process Julien Albertini and Alina Pimkina employ to create their polished, pastel-tinted brand of interiors. The duo behind design firm Asthetique say they try to stay away from Pinterest as much as possible, "because your mind gets flooded with design that many other people have done and you then come to notice that your [work] looks similar to everyone else's."
Their mission to create something unprecedented manifest itself most recently at The Y, a lifestyle restaurant by restaurateur Kira Baybakova that made its debut in the Khamovniki neighborhood of Moscow in April. The relatively high-end residential neighborhood is filled with generation Y-ers and new families, Albertini explains. "Part of the approach is to take cues from the 1970s and to speak to the local demographic," he says. "We wanted to hit all of those notes of nostalgia of when they were being raised...but also modernize it for our day and age."
To that end, the design team used a palette of muted pastel colors throughout the 10,000-square-foot space and swapped sharp corners for rounded edges on both the furniture and walls. The second-floor dining room, for instance, features rounded walls painted in white plaster up top and curved wood wainscoting, painted in a dusty blue, on the bottom half. "Having these radiuses and archways and softer edges was very evident in the 70s as well," says Albertini. Nostalgia meets nature on both floors of The Y, where hanging plants and floral motifs include an oversized wall graphic commissioned by a local artist.
This sleek-meets-soft juxtaposition is ingrained in Asthetique's DNA. "Alina and I have this natural diametric to each other, and we have sort of different design styles," Albertini says. "But when they come together it creates a really interesting design—you kind of see this balance between masculine and feminine, light and bright, sharp and curvy. This project is one of those where you see it—those beautiful pastel colors that are nice and soft mix with this harder wall paneling or a little sharper lighting," he says.
The menu is another study in contrast. Run by Chef Vladimir Schetinin, a St. Petersburg native and "a brilliant representative of millennial generation," according to Pimkina. Dishes like tuna with strawberries and Ponzu sauce and beef tartare with aubergine rillettes are vibrant counterpoints to the restaurant's otherwise quieting vibe. Range is a must for Schetinin whose food program covers The Y's two dining rooms—a pizzeria on the first floor and a more formal sit-down experience with a bar upstairs—two private event spaces—the Mint Room, a 40-person space with an open kitchen and a dreamy green color palette and a smaller VIP room for up to 12 people—and a coffee shop offering pastries and café staples under the glow of light fixtures custom designed by Albertini and Pimkina and columns gilded in what Pimkina calls liquid metal. "It's like antique brass, but seamless," she says.
"At The Y, you can find really everything, to start your day, to continue your day, for your kids, to invite your parents... They even have a DJ set on the second floor sometimes. This is a lifestyle restaurant," Pimkina explains. The all-encompassing concept does, indeed, include secret kids' quarters with childcare staff. "When neighbors walk in with kids after work, they can have lunch or dinner and there are people who work at the Y who will take care of the kids, play with them, and give the parents an opportunity to relax and enjoy the food and atmosphere," she adds, describing the service as popular on the Russian restaurant scene.
And yet Albertini contends that The Y is a step away from the other dining experiences you'd typically find in Moscow. But going against the grain isn't at the cost of comfort, he adds. "It's still approachable."