“Part of the experience is being able to match these familiar, local flavours with those from around the world, allowing the diner to travel via the ingredients,” Vikentev explains. That globetrotting mindset is mirrored in the restaurant’s ‘10,000km of Flavours’ set menu. It’s a gastronomic trip around Russia that showcases produce and wines from different regions, such as Siberian venison carpaccio, onion marmalade and summer herb pesto washed down with, say, a glass of chilled rosé from North Ossetia-Alania.

Russia’s ban on most food imports from the US and the EU, which was imposed in 2014, has forced chefs like Vikentev to source ingredients closer to home, whether it’s duck from Rostov or crab from Kamchatka (“the best crab in the world”).

Of course, finding quality Russian produce is much easier now than it once was. Born during the final years of the Soviet Union, Vikentev grew up accustomed to a limited diet. “We had closed borders at that time, so we only had local stuff and some ingredients from Bulgaria, Czech Republic and a few countries across the USSR,” he says. “We’d go to the market and they’d have potatoes, carrots, chicken, onions and — that’s it. It was actually a very big problem. If you wanted to buy chicken, you’d have to queue for two and a half hours.”

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, larger grocery stores began importing a wider range of global produce. Vikentev’s parents responded by buying newly available food magazines and testing out unfamiliar ingredients and recipes at home. “One of the reasons Russia doesn’t have as strong a gastronomic culture as most of Europe is because our restaurant culture is still very, very young,” says Vikentev. He notes that, until the 1990s, very few people dined out; most of his formative culinary experiences were in his parents’ kitchen.

While the gastronomic scene may have been a long way from catching up to the innovation happening across Western Europe, Vikentev views the early post-Soviet period as the start of Russia’s modern culinary culture — and it was this newfound, widespread passion that inspired him to enrol in catering college. By the age of 26, he’d worked at some of St Petersburg’s finest restaurants, including Il Palazzo, La Maree, and Grato. Determined to expand his horizons, he travelled abroad, spending a brief but intense spell cooking aboard a private boat in the Mediterranean and honing his skills at restaurants including Giuseppe Ricchebuono’s Michelin-starred Il Vescovado and Albert Adrià’s 41 Degrees.