Malaya Bronnaya, Moscow
Written by Oryx
Polly Barks, writer and Moscow resident, loves the sedate luxe of Malaya Bronnaya Street, home to some of Moscow’s most affluent citizens, hippest cafés, and most unique shops.
Malaya Bronnaya is bookended by two iconic pieces of Russian culture. To the north stands the Patriarch’s Ponds, immortalised by writer Mikhail Bulgakov in The Master and Margarita. You’ll have to compete with locals to snag one of the few benches overlooking the pond, but it’s worth it for the moment of quiet you’ll find in an otherwise bustling city. At the southern end, take in a show at the Moscow Theater of Drama, offering daily shows of both Russian and foreign classics.
Diagonally across the street from the tree-lined Patriarch’s Ponds stands the artists’ cooperative Bolshe, perfect for souvenirs beyond the typical matryoshka (nesting doll). All of the one-of-a-kind products – from charming stationery to Soviet-throwback paraphernalia – are created by local artists. The nearby Katya Dobryakova offers a peek into high-end contemporary Russian fashion with thriving lines for women and men.
For a unique take on a traditional tea service, Le Voyage du Thé boasts over 500 varieties of tea from French gourmet tea company Mariage Frères, a unique accomplishment as the brand is otherwise only sold in the company’s own shops.
At the next intersection is one of Moscow’s most un-Russian cafés: Uilliams. The pleasantly crowded space is more reminiscent of Paris than Moscow and is a beacon for Muscovite hipsters. Owner and chef Uilliam Lamberti has created a unique menu – billed as ‘creative European’ with a smattering of Russian offerings for good measure.
Continue south to enjoy the contemporary Russian cuisine at Twins, its name hinting at the two brothers who opened the restaurant of their childhood dreams. Look carefully, as the small bistro is hidden in a private courtyard that seems very far removed from the hustle and bustle of central Moscow.
Towards the southern end of Malaya Bronnaya stands Aist (Russian for ‘stork’), offering an elevated dining experience with unique Mediterranean cuisine by chef Umberto Rocca. The ground floor serves as an upscale lounge while the second floor offers unique meals in a 19th-century, Imperial-style living room.
Polly writes about off-beat travel for her blog, A Girl and Her Travels. She grew up in small-town USA, but has lived in Moscow, Russia, for nearly five years, where she’s intent on discovering the best the city has to offer.