Then began the procession of dishes that better illustrate Expeditsiya’s shtick, proving that food can also be a conversation starter. We oohed and aahed as blocks of ice were lowered onto the table, dressed with medallions and coils of raw, paper-thin fish. Named Polar Pontoon (5,740 rub), it’s a northern delicacy that is served with dipping sauces and, fittingly, a shot of vodka.

But it’s not all cold in Siberia. Next came plush mutton pastries, grilled venison tongue with cowberry sauce, and far Eastern scallops. Just when the amount of food was getting overwhelming, mains came: hot plates of assorted fish and meat.