« He bends his course to Talon's, where
He knows Kaverine will repair.
He enters. High the cork arose
Like comet champagne foaming flows... »
«Eugene Onegin» by Alexander Pushkin
Talon Restaurant was one of the most fashionable and expensive places in St. Petersburg at the beginning of the 19th century. Therefore, is not surprising that it was there that Pushkin sent Eugene Onegin to dissipate.
The restaurant occupied several floors of the house and belonged to the French chef Pierre Talon. There is less than ten minutes' walk from here to the Pushkin’s apartment, so the menu was likely familiar to Alexander Sergeyevich.
A restaurant was called "restauration" in Russia. This emphasized the benefits for the stomach, people went there in order to "repair the stomach." The restaurant served hot food, which was
completely impossible to serve in other places, where kitchens also existed. In taverns and cheap cafes food was cooked in advance and it always got on the table a little warm.
In the novel, Onegin is served with a roast beef all bloody, a Strasbourg pie – a pate, Limburg cheese and pineapples were named so at that time – all gourmet and expensive, as it should be on the table of a wealthy aristocrat in the best restaurant of St. Petersburg in the first quarter of the XIX century.
In 1825, Pierre Talon went back to France, the restaurant was closed. But, thanks to Pushkin, it remained in history. Over the past 200 years, this building belonged to a pastry shop and a bank, an art house and a cinema. Now there is a five-star hotel here.