Opened in 1954, perhaps in honour of Nikita Khrushchev’s first visit to China as the USSR leader, Moscow Restaurant was the first foreign restaurant in Beijing, and it does not mess around. High ceilings, elephantine chandeliers, gilded portraits of Mother Russia and gold everything – dining in this ballroom of yesteryear is about as kitsch as it gets. The food also has a vintage feel, although with less entertaining results. The chicken galantine stuffed with mushrooms in a 'Russian style' (78RMB) is a cold mélange of various brown meats, while the ox tongue (86RMB) – also cold, also brown – will have you reaching for the vodka in no time. It’s not all bad news – the borscht (68RMB) here is served hot and sweet with braised cabbage and beetroot, and the smoked mackerel (78RMB), with its incongruous wasabi dipping sauce, is exactly what you expect from fish that’s been cured to oblivion. In short, Moscow Restaurant is a taste of faded glory all round, although one that’s easier on the eye than on the tongue.