London restaurant staffed entirely by Ukrainian refugees opening – and the name is really touching


The new restaurant opens in Chelsea on Old Brompton Road.

By Jessica Battison Trainee Life Writer

Aug 9

Yurii Kovryzhenko has previously hosted charity restaurant pop-ups alongside celebrities (Image: yurii_kovryzhenko / Instagram)

A new restaurant entirely staffed by Ukrainian refugees is opening in London. Named Mriya, it has a really touching meaning

Opening in Chelsea, it is run by Ukrainian chef Yurii Kovryzhenko, who was cooking at Ukraine’s embassy in London on the day of the Russian invasion. Mriya is the Ukrainian word for dream. 

Yurii decided to remain here in the UK and opens this new restaurant with his partner Olga Tsybytovska. Mriya will be staffed by Ukrainian refugees who have also settled in the UK.

Opening on Old Brompton Road, the pair also intend to donate part of the profit to a charity that helps Ukrainian victims of war. Using social media, the restaurant have now found their team of refugees to make up the Chelsea staff.

Olga wrote on Instagram : “Ukrainians want to work, be useful and thank London, which has welcomed them. They don’t expect help by folding hands, they look for opportunities to help themselves, no matter how difficult and painful it may be in a new unfamiliar world for which fate has not prepared them.

“Mriya united chefs, confectioner, lawyer, teachers, entrepreneurs, students and managers from lviv, Kiev, cherkasy, ternopil, Odessa, hmelnytska, bučačí, ivano frankivsʹka. We received resumes from PhDs in biology and owners of travel companies. Everyone had their dreams before the war, and now everyone has one common. We are all learning to walk again now.”

The 67-seater restaurant will offer up both Ukrainian classic dishes as well as Yurii’s own interpretation – something he was particularly famous for back home. He once ran a high-end restaurant, named Vintage Nouveau, in Lviv. Alongside the likes of Jamie Oliver, Jason Atherton and Tom Kitchin, he has partaken in various London pop-ups for charity since the war with Russia began.

The Chicken Kyiv, which was served to 1,000 guests at Lunch4Ukraine in April, will appear on Mriya’s menu. There will also be dishes such as duck tartare and cream soup of blue cabbage. Other main items will be the borscht (a beetroot soup) and golubtsi (cabbage rolls).

As well as being staffed by Ukrainians and serving traditional food, Mriya will be filled with art and furniture made be Ukrainians. Yurii and Olga hope for their restaurant to be a ‘cultural embassy’ for Ukraine in the UK.


  1. It would be nice to get more Eastern European eateries in the UK, there must be a market for it.

  2. Very nice! I wish them great success. If they cook like the average Ukrainian, I’m sure that it will be.

  3. One of the many things I love about Ukraine is that you can get good food for all budgets, whether it is at a ‘posh’ restaurant serving food that resembles art or at an inexpensive back street local cafe type place, I have never been left hungry or disappointed.

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