Restaurants are not my first line of business — I began by building two online stores that were among the top 50 Russian online platforms. But I was always attracted to the restaurant business. My career began at a hookah lounge of my brother. At some point, we began to do two projects in parallel: Memo night club and the well-known Pims. I joined Memo as an investor, but I was so hooked that took over its operations. In February 2024, we announced the creation of our restaurant group Origin. Our concept is that we go from the present to the past, and, after taking some foundation from there, we go to the future, creating a new and unique experience and emotions for our guests. That’s how Ayna was born. We went to the library, studied a lot of literature about Russia, about its peoples and their cuisines, about local products and dishes. And when we came to see this space at Ostozhenka Street that for 14 years was home to the Genatsvale restaurant, we knew right away that this is it. This is the Ayna that we already conceived. And when we spoke to designers, we already had a well-thought-out idea of what we want to see, starting with the name and ending with all the visuals. This is a place where people come every day for food that they heard about but never had a chance to eat. With Zoyka, the story is a bit different. First, we wanted to make a fashionable dive bar. And then we decided that we must have our own lab there to produce our own distillates. And that the food must be Russo-French. That our waiters — we call them mummers — will read poems related to each drink that we create, basing them on some well-known works of literature. Zoyka ended up being a very intimate place. There are only 26 seats and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights it’s virtually impossible to get a table. We collaborate with theaters, actors, writers, and poets. We have a very sophisticated audience, very much unlike the guests of other establishments in the neighborhood. For them, it’s some other kind of experience, I guess, you would call it a cultural attraction. For me, Zoyka is a story about soul, not money. We wanted to create a cool and iconic project, something that everyone will talk about, and we wanted it to work for many-many years, so that everyone who came to Patriarshy Ponds knew that they definitely must visit Zoyka. My dream is to open a restaurant that could be replicated in large cities around the world. To open restaurants in London, Dubai, France, Italy. We already have Pims, but it’s a take-away chain. What I want is to replicate a world-class restaurant.

Guide restaurants with Philip Golubev participation