Moscow-born couple Roman Tazhdynov and Marina Tazhdynova, owners of Gresham Street’s Bibliotheca Bar & Book Exchange, draw on their heritage for Red October. It brings modern Russian to Gilbert Place. The food menu takes hints from the 16 republics that once comprised the Soviet Union, using local produce.
Eight taps pour Australian beers. The Russian stuff only comes in bottles and stubbies. Bourbon is the spirit of choice because it goes well with beer, so expect boilermakers. On-tap cocktails are mixed in-house: a “kind-of-berry-flavoured” sea buckthorn spritz; and a salted-caramel Espresso Martini served on the rocks. House-made Tarkhun (a Russian soft drink) flavours the Tarragon Mojito. The Fruitful Pursuit’s James Hopkins curates the (almost) all-Australian wine list.
The redesign centred on returning the building – previously a Malaysian restaurant – to its 1890s roots. Heritage stonework once concealed behind gyprock was painstakingly preserved. Concrete and timber complete the fit-out. Downstairs in the basement is Suzie Wong, a dimly lit Hong Kong-style speakeasy.