Regent was born because Moscow clearly lacked the best restaurant in town. There were other Italian places – crème de la crème – but there wasn’t anything haute cuisine, at least, not at that moment. So, I opened it.

All my life, I have dealt with wine – the best wine with the best vendor in Russia, with all the blue chips that you can only imagine in the world of wine. And when I decided to open a restaurant, my goal was to create something of the highest quality.

To turn a bunch of walls and chairs into the best restaurant in town, you need absolute refusal to compromise – you select the best products, and you don’t spoil anything. The quality of any restaurant is really quite easy to assess – see how many authentic products the chef is ready to use. There is a huge difference between “bad” and “good.” Only savvy people will notice the difference between “good” and “very good.” The difference between “very good” and “perfect” is virtually unnoticeable. But it’s there! That’s the balance we try to keep. For some, this is unattainable, but there is a small percentage of people admire it. This rule is applicable to everything, there are millions of examples. A men’s suit made from super 150s or super200s wool? Many people won’t even know what this is, but the price of one is triple of the other.

At Regent, I created everything, from renovation to the menu. And our hits are also my creation. However absurd it may sound, the main dish in our meat restaurant is scallops with foie gras, a bold rendering of surf&turf. It took us a while to figure out how to do it. We mixed meat with sea urchins – which is also still on the menu, by the way. As for the scallops – God knows, how I came up with an idea to “wed” them to duck liver and miso soup brewed with orange juice. Like all things genius, the idea came out of nowhere. Suddenly. Thanks to some stupidity. And excessive audacity. And now everyone wants them.

Almost all of the melodies have been written already, and everyone spies on each other. I believe that I invented everything. With my team, of course. But it was me, personally.

In honor of the restaurant’s fifth anniversary that we celebrated in the summer and continue to do throughout the year, we created a perfect selection of wines for each dish. A special kind of wine pairing: we offer two wines for each position on the menu, so that people could have a choice and so that everyone could afford something, one is expensive and the other – not so much. I think, they are all different, we don’t recommend the same thing to any two dishes. And nobody else really has anything of this sort.

Honestly, I don’t like set menus. It’s just not something I’d do. When I fly somewhere, I do eat them, of course, but I don’t like them. Basically, to suggest one or two pairings to each dish – that’s a 3* restaurant set menu approach. Those kind of set menus I approve, that’s how it should be done.

Our wine menu has over 300 positions, and nothing can get in unless I accept it. Nothing. The only thing that can be changed is the vintage year for some wine or something like that, something that I can entrust to the sommelier. And for the second time in a row, this wine menu has earned two glasses out of three in the Wine Spectator ranking – that’s the world’s most authoritative wine magazine. It was especially nice to receive the extension of the rating this year, considering all the geopolitical nuances.

I’m pretty confident that the inflow of foreign tourists, the mention in the Michelin guide, and two glasses rating from the Wine Spectator provided some additional clients for the restaurant. But despite the fact of Regent’s location in a hotel, we are not a tourist restaurant. I would say we are anti-tourist. Our guests are all very successful people, regardless of their age. They know exactly what they want and how they want it, they’ve seen things, and they have their own opinions. Essentially, the main superpower for a person to have is the ability to distinguish good stuff from crap. Once you’ve learned that, you’ll go far.

Guide restaurants with Alexey Pinsky participation