A Ukrainian Chef Is Opening A New London Bistro Staffed By Refugees From The Invasion

Now here’s a story that’s all about making the best of an awful situation. Back in February 2022, Yurii Kovryzhenko and his partner Olga Tsybytovska journeyed to London for a brief trip to cook at the Ukrainian Embassy and raise the profile of Ukrainian cuisine. Or at least it would have been a brief trip, except that whilst they were here, the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, displacing millions of people and preventing them from returning. Instead, the duo stayed in London to raise relief funds for Ukraine through a series of charity dinners – and now, they’re taking the London-Ukraine connection to another level, with the opening of Mryia later this year.

Blending classical and contemporary Ukrainian cuisine, Mryia is a ‘neo-bistro’ that will be staffed by refugees from the war, so it’s pretty apt that the name means ‘dream’ in Ukrainian. Kovryzhenko will fill the menu with his trademark borsch, chicken Kyiv, and more, including courgette pancakes with stracciatella, and smoked trout and vinaigrette with strawberries, green pea cream, and crayfish necks. Sounds pretty good, right?

Mryia will open in Chelsea next month, with room for 37 diners across the restaurant and terrace. Kovryzhenko – who’s previously opened eateries in Lviv and Seoul – aims to show off the “taste and cosiness” of Ukrainian food, and I’m thinking that a frigid winter’s evening in London could be infinitely improved by a warming bowl of borsch, for instance. An exact opening date for the restaurant hasn’t yet been confirmed, but we’ll keep you updated with all the information you need to enjoy a meal at Mryia. Because genuinely, it is a dream come true…

Also published on Medium.