I first discovered my affinity for Russian cuisine in the unlikeliest of places, the country of Niger. While living in Niamey, Niger my friend’s Russian wife would return from Moscow with all kinds of goodies. I immediately fell in love with Russian food the second I bit into a slice of crusty bread slathered in a spread of blended pork fat and garlic and washed down with a shot of ice cold vodka.
I was really surprised that despite the large Russian community living in Bangkok there were no options for authentic Russian cuisine. A query to fellow Bangkok foodies directed me to one chef, Alesha Voronin. All agreed that he was a magician in the kitchen but unfortunately he was only doing pop-up dining experiences. Then something happened last month. Alesha opened a Russian restaurant called The Moon Under Water.
Excited, I immediately planned a visit. I was completely blown away by the food, its quality, flavor, and presentation. I was equally impressed with the extraordinary value. Here you can experience amazing Russian food in Bangkok without breaking the bank!
Because Russian food doesn’t really lean on spices it’s often thought of as bland. But at The Moon Under Water there is flavor beyond what you’d expect in every dish, and then always a finish that just blows you away with each bite. My good pal Jake who accompanied me on the visit best described the sensation as a “mouthgasm“.
With an open kitchen diners can watch Alesha and his team fly about the kitchen, caramelizing onions, rolling blints, and plating dishes. The results transcend delicious. It’s emotional.
Let me show you.
The Moon Under Water offers two kinds of dumplings: meat filled or potato filled. Both are amazing, but as a devout meatarian I’m partial to the pelmeni.
The meat filled dumplings are on the menu as Pelmeni (280 baht). These Siberian style pelmeni are filled with juicy lamb meat. The dumpling shell is thick with a bit of chew, but not dry. The flavor explosion comes once the lamb meat and sauce hit you. These are like wontons that like to party.
If meat’s not your thing then order the other dumpling option Vareniki (250 baht). It’s similar to the pelmeni but instead of lamb meat it’s filled with creamy, garlicky mashed potatoes.
Fun fact: Vareneki and pierogi are basically synonymous!
In my life I have eaten many, many pierogis but these vareniki are amazeballz.
Deals for meals…
The Moon Under Water offers some great deals on menu sets if you’re looking for a quick and filling meal with variety.
For me this Drunken Sausage (390 baht) is the perfect meal. The sausages are home made and cured with brandy overnight. The sausages are then cooked and then blowtorched to crisp the natural casings. It’s then topped with a spicy homemade mustard which Alesha ferments himself.
The sauce from the cooked sausages is repurposed to caramelize carrots and onion with wine as a gravy for the mashed potatoes. Also accompanying the dish are homemade lactic fermented cucumbers and a Russian sauerkraut (Kvashenaya Kapusta). This sauerkraut differs from its German counterpart in that it is sweeter. It’s also a little crunchier and you can taste the veggies more instead of it being vinegary.
Zakusky Set (390 baht)
If your appetite is light I highly recommend the Zakusky Set (390 baht). It comes with a nice sample of pickled mushrooms and tomatoes. Note: This set pictured is missing the salo (cured pork fat) as they were out of it. But the real treat here is the smolets. Smolets is best described as a Russian pâté. It’s made with roasted pork belly that’s blended with caramelized onion and apple with cream into a thick paste. It literally melts in your mouth.
A dollop of this on rye bread with mustard and grated horseradish is a real treat! Going heavy on the mustard and horseradish is also a shortcut to curing any sinus ailments.
Borscht – One of my favorite soups!
There’s only one soup on the menu and it just so happens to be one of my favorites, Borscht on the menu as A Tale of Beets (220 baht). This soup makes me wish it were snowing. It’s pure nostalgia evoking bliss. What I like about it most is that you can actually taste the different veggies in it as opposed to other borscht experiences I’ve had where they lean on the salt pretty heavy.
A simple soup of pork stock, beets and potatoes, if you’re a fan of borscht, I highly recommend you order this.
A chat with the owner/chef…
Alesha Voronin never thought he’d be a chef. He was born in the small town of Salekhard in Russia located right in the Polar circle. Though he started cooking at the early age of 3 and farming at 5, he eventually grew to study drama and continues to have a passion for the cinematic arts.
He discovered Thailand while touring Southeast Asia on a motorcycle and fell in love with Bangkok and decided to stay. An unsuccessful visa run left him stranded in Cambodia, and ultimately working in the kitchen at a resort in Ko Kong. He quickly discovered that this was his calling.
Returning to Bangkok he opened a simple restaurant called Pizza Bar BKK which became quite popular. But as the popularity grew so did the rent. Wanting to focus on Russian cuisine, and needing an affordable change of scene, he opened The Moon Under Water in January, 2019.
Authentic Food in Bangkok!
The name “The Moon Under Water” stems from George Orwell’s essay in which he describes his ideal public house. Though Bangkok’s The Moon Under Water doesn’t meet the attributes of Orwell’s fantasy pub, it is Alesha’s ideal restaurant that combines honest cooking with atmosphere.
Alesha feels that his experiences as a child in the kitchen and the farm shaped how he feels about food today. He’s very passionate about keeping chemicals out of cooking, and ensuring that ingredients are natural and fresh. His goal is to provide authentic homestyle Russian food–but elevated. He cooks and presents with intensity and purpose and feels rewarded by diner satisfaction.
It’s also an experience…
During my 7 hour visit (because good food and vodka somehow speeds up time), I observed how the restaurant shifted from lunch time with Russian guests popping in for comfort food, to dinner time where families took over for an evening meal, to a social hangout where folks mingled over beer, dumplings, and salmon blinis. All the while Alesha orchestrated the movements of the kitchen whilst playing the social butterfly with guests. Growing up in the former Soviet Union he’s got plenty of stories to tell.
There was a distinct moment where my friend and I noted we were eating Russian food, listening to 70’s Turkish music, and drinking San Miguel beer…realizing this is Bangkok we were feeling pretty international!
I’m hungry. Where is it?
The Moon Under Water is located on Sukhumvit Soi 48, a 5 minute walk from the Phra Khanong BTS station. On the first floor is a small Thai restaurant called Yayee which you will have to walk through to get to the stairs leading to the second floor where The Moon Under Water is located.
Seating is very limited and for this reason it’s highly recommended that you make reservations especially for large groups. You can find their contact details or message them directly on their Facebook page.
If notified in advance Alesha is able to tailor the menu to any dietetic requirements. Additionally, the space can also be rented out for private functions and their kitchen is available for production level filming.
If you’re looking for authentic Russian food in Bangkok The Moon Under Water is your option. I am confident you will be amazed by their food and the value you receive. If you visit I’d love to hear from you. Share your experience in the comment section or contact me directly!