Muswell Hill eatery kicks off series of dining discoveries every Tuesday

Karina Baldry and Katrina Kollegaeva, founders of Rosehip and Rye, Zarina and Soslan Salamov, founders of Salanti

Karina Baldry and Katrina Kollegaeva, founders of Rosehip and Rye, Zarina and Soslan Salamov, founders of Salanti - Credit: Juliette Fevre

Caterers and event creators Rosehip & Rye are brightening up diners’ Tuesday nights by bringing Eastern-European food to Muswell Hill. 

The restaurant kicked off the new series last week by welcoming Buckinghamshire-based business Salanti to share their produce.

The company specialises in perfecting the little-known but nonetheless delicious Ossetian pies. 

Owner Karina Baldry is from Moscow and spent summers in the Caucasus and her co-owner Katrina Kollegaeva comes from Estonia. 

Katrina had been a food anthropologist for a while and was writing food reviews, when she met Karina at the launch of her book: “Russia on a plate”. 

They both founded Rosehip and Rye, Katrina said, born from their willingness to “introduce London to the food that we really believe is so vibrant, so colourful and so worthy of being known.”

“The food from what we call the New East, the whole area of the former Soviet Union,” she added. 
 
Aside from deliveries, Rosehip and Rye open pop-up restaurants in diverse places, as every Tuesday from now on, at Queen Wood Café, a place we only would find in Perrault’s tales.

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The place was originally built in 1898, as a wood keeper’s lodge and tea-room. One-hundred years later, the spot was saved from demolition to become a community café. 

It has kept its original charm, with exposed wooden beams and an open-air veranda surrounded by trees. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmothers had lived here at some point. 

“We completely fell in love with this place”, said Katrina, “It’s such a magical and unique place.” 

Last Tuesday, Ossetian pies were in the spotlight. They had been directly imported into Muswell Hill by Zarina and Soslan Salamov, the founders of Salanti. 

The atmosphere was marvelously warm. Karina and Katrina welcomed guests with true enthusiasm. One rule: no one’s eating alone, strangers sat together. 

During the dinner, Soslan told the tale of Salanti: “We started our business just a year ago, it’s a lockdown baby.” The aim: “Bring the Ossetian pies to the English plate.”

An Ossetian pie is cooked with a very thin layer of pastry all over the pie and a lot of filling inside, baked in a very hot oven. 

There are ten different pies on Salanti’s menu. “Tonight, we brought five of them,” Soslan said. All the pies have names ending with “djin,” he explained, which means “feeling” in Ossetian. Therefore, each one corresponds to a feeling one could encounter. 

Perfecting the Ossetian in the kitchen.

Perfecting the Ossetian in the kitchen. - Credit: Juliette Fevre

The first pie, called Amondjin, was filled with meat and cabbage. “It is not a traditional Ossetian filling, but it worked so well,” said Soslan, before revealing that “Amond” meant happiness. Indeed, if happiness had a taste, it would certainly be this one. 

The four others were filled with beetroot leaves and cow cheese - a very traditional one, a true delight - butternut, cheese and onions, and a sweet one, filled with apple and cinnamon. 

The dough was frankly a masterpiece. It had a silky chewy texture, light and bouncy, that makes you feel that the world is going to be just fine, after all.

Soslan added: “The round shape of the pie is symbolic: some people say the round symbolises infinity, some say the golden colour and shape represents the sun. That’s why, when you cut the pie, you can’t rotate it. You have to manage your hands around the pie, because you can’t rotate the sun, we are rotating around the sun.”

The Muswell Hill venue is novel-esque

The Muswell Hill venue is novel-esque - Credit: Juliette Fevre

This story was followed by mesmerized “ohs” and “ahs” from the audience. 

The pies came with cold dishes, cooked by Karina and Katrina, such as the lightly pickled dill cucumbers and grilled aubergines delicately stuffed with walnut, spice and garlic, a Georgian dish called Badrijani, were a perfect balance of nutty and smoky. 

To sum up, Ossetian pie is the new pizza and Karina and Katrina are amazing hostesses and cooks, for whom ‘food never feeds the belly alone.’ 

Rosehip and Rye are planning on continuing to create different pop-up dinners and help to grow and develop the cafe, together with Leta, the current manager who has been the heart and soul of the place for many years. "We would love to see the place flourish and see more and more of the local community coming to enjoy the food and the special spirit of the place" explains Katrina.

Every Tuesday drop by to sample Katrina and Karina's 'Soul Russian food' menu.

The next evening pop-up is inspired by the enchanting Nutcracker story and Russian Winter Tales. Bookings take place here: https://www.rosehipandrye.co.uk/pop-ups.

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