the central house of writers - or tsentralnaya dom literatov in russian - is a beautiful mansion in art nouveau style in downtown moscow. originally built for count olsufiev, an aristocrat who served as a general under tsar nicholas II, the russian revolution imminently changed its purpose from a stately residence into a shelter for the homeless and then an orphanage. but in 1932 the russian state made it the new headquarters of the union of soviet writers, a creative union of professional writers instigated by the central committee of the communist party. it's widely believed that russian writer lev tolstoy [1828–1910] used this mansion as a model for the rostov home in his legendary novel war and peace. the central house of writers has longtime managed a fine dining restaurant + bar and occupying one of the mansion's ornate, high-ceiling rooms on the premises.
simply called ts.d.l. restaurant - an acronym in russian for tsentralnaya dom literatov - the illustrious space and its cuisine have recently been given a bold makeover. the people behind savvy muscovite dining establishment ragout took over the creative reign and decided it was time to adapt the place to modern times, but with full consideration of the rich historical setting. moscow-based creative agency wowhaus came up with a seemingly simple and effective solution by juxtaposing the original elements with almost equally ornate modern design. a band of back-lit plastic panelling, featuring a dotted motif and a repetitive cut-out pattern, has been placed atop the historic wooden paneling. matching partitions made from a similar material create separate restaurant sections, not only adding up to more visual drama but also creating an increased sense of intimacy.
the furniture adds further contemporary extravaganza, most notably the multitude of sleek white cushioned chairs. and while the room's original crystal chandeliers have been retained, tubular-shaped modern light fixtures have been added. an entirely new menu has been conceptualized by chef taras kiriyenko and brand manager alexei zimin, both of ragout. so, what's cookin' at this audaciously reinvented place? as a nod to the mansion's history an array of classic russian dishes is served at the renewed ts.d.l. restaurant, all prepared in a modern way and with the use of select foreign ingredients that give a subtle fusion twist. the menu equally lists meat, fish and poultry. and with all that sumptuous food there's also plenty of imported quality wines to choose from. location: central house of writers, povarskaya ulitsa 50-53 [presnenskiy].