10 minutes with: Paul Carroll, chef patron at Polly Restaurant in Russia

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 31st August 2018

Having previously worked at Petrus and Royal Hospital Road, Paul Carroll has recently opened his first solo restaurant Polly in his adopted country of Russia.

The new restaurant is in Vladimir, a city close to Moscow. Paul spoke to The Staff Canteen to tell us more about his new Russian venture, his culinary influences and how he intends to cope with a temperature that is 30 below zero!

https://www.thestaffcanteen.com/public/js/tinymce/plugins/moxiemanager/data/files/Polly Dish 1.JPG
Roasted Eggplant with nachos, 
pomegranate and herbs

As a young man in Dublin, the idea of owning and running a restaurant in Russia probably couldn’t be further from Paul Carrol’s mind. However, two years ago, he moved to Vladimir and he decided this was the place to open his new venture.

When it comes to the restaurants' culinary style, Paul admits this is difficult to define and that he will be ‘cooking the kind of food that he likes to cook.’ But he says his food will be more akin with a general European style as opposed to Russian.

Despite his extensive experience in the kitchen, he admits that even creating the menu for Polly has been challenging.

He said: “I have worked as a head chef and this is the most difficult menu I have had to write. I am going back to every dish and I am making changes every day. I really want to make sure that it is perfect for me.”

With most chefs, seasonality is key, and this is no more so than for Paul. One of the biggest obstacles he will have to deal with is the extremities in temperature. In winter, the temperature will drop to minus 30 degrees. This will have a significant impact on his menu, as the weather will dictate how much he pays for vegetables which can triple in price in the colder months.

One way he will look to tackle this is by preserving fruits and vegetables from his garden. He is also looking to take advantage of the local forests where mushrooms, wild strawberries and plums can be found.

After leaving school aged 15, Paul joined the renowned Clarence Hotel in Dublin as a commis chef. Despite not having any previous interest in cooking, the young Irishman found his calling straight away.

He said: “I loved it – the chef that was there was a tough guy, but he spent a lot of time with me. It was probably one of the better kitchens to work at in Dublin.”

Three years later, Paul made the move over to London where he worked at Petrus at St James Street.

“I spent three and a half years there," he explained. "Then I moved to Royal Hospital Road for two and a half years.”

Paul cites the likes of Liam Tomlin and Richard Corrigan as being highly influential in his career and said: “Back in Dublin is where I met Richard and Liam for the first time – they were both internationally acclaimed chefs. Liam Tomlin is a big inspiration to me and Richard is a great guy – very passionate.”

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Carrot patch with jerky
gooseberry and herbs

After spending several years working in both the UK and Ireland, Paul took himself off to sunnier climes where he worked at the Grand Cayman Beach Suites and for Celebrity Cruises. The opportunity to travel the world whilst cooking was too irresistible to pass up.

It was on the cruise ships that he met his future wife and they decided to move to her hometown of Vladimir. While Paul always had an inkling he would open his own restaurant, he never expected it to be in Russia.

He said: “It was going to happen but where it was going to happen - I had no idea”

Paul has achieved a good grasp of Russian and his wife is familiar with the city of Vladimir but opening the restaurant has presented many challenges and even finding suppliers has been problematic.

The restaurant, ПОЛЛИ, opened earlier this month and its name in English translates as Polly (named after his mother). In Russian, the first half of ‘Polly’ means Paul.

The opening of the restaurant has been an achievement in itself, but does Paul have his eye on a Michelin star?

“If it happens, it happens – we want to cook and operate a restaurant that we are happy with. We will see what happens further down the line.”


By Emma Harrison

@canteenemma

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 31st August 2018

10 minutes with: Paul Carroll, chef patron at Polly Restaurant in Russia