FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE:
PRESTIGIOUS MARI VANNA RESTAURANT ARRIVES IN LONDON THIS AUTUMN
Situated in the heart of Knightsbridge, Mari Vanna is set to open its doors in November 2011. The Mari Vanna menu will offer “babushka cooking” – homely cooking in the time honoured tradition. Russian dishes with influences from Armenia, Georgia and Uzbekistan will each come with a twist to make it lighter and contemporary. A taste of home, transported to the most glamorous part of the city, the restaurant will display true Russian hospitality, a rare find in London.
Mari Vanna boasts a grand location. Situated on the doorstep of One Hyde Park and the Bulgari hotel, and with an audible buzz of pre-opening excitement, the restaurant is set to become both a hit with the jet-set crowd and local neighbourhood. With extraordinary attention to detail, Mari Vanna will transport each guest into a Russian home where shelves are adorned with matryoshka dolls, trinkets and tchotchke. A traditional Russian Pechka oven, prominent in many Russian folk tales, sits proudly in the midst of the dining room. Set against an opulent backdrop with high ceilings adorned with elaborate chandeliers, Mari Vanna will display cosy details within a luxurious setting.
The menu is destined to show Russian cuisine in a new light. Traditional dishes such as Pelmeni, pillow-like Russian veal dumplings with a light herb sauce and Mari Vanna’s signature dish Borsch with Pampushka (a beetroot soup with beef) sit along side dishes such as Harcho, a rich Georgian lamb soup with rice and Adjika (a spicy tomato sauce) and Ukrainian Galubtzi, cabbage leaves encasing spiced meat and rice.
An impressive range of vodkas awaits the connoisseur at the bar whilst the Mari Vanna cocktail menu turns old classics into contemporary creations inspired by Russian culture. The Moscow Mojito, for example, uses oat and honey infused vodka, fresh key lime juice, and muddled chocolate mint.
Launched originally in St Petersburg, where it is said that a mythical woman named Mari Vanna welcomed guests and travellers into her kitchen for home cooked dishes and a cosy retreat from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, Mari Vanna has sister restaurants in Moscow, St Petersburg and New York. Similar to these outposts, regular visitors will receive the mysterious ‘Mari Vanna Key’ which unlocks every restaurant from Russia to London to New York City on Mondays.
Mari Vanna is co-owned by Vadim Lapin & Dmitry Sergeyev, founders of restaurant and hospitality holding company Ginza Project, and Luca Del Bono. A co-founder of Quintessentially, Luca Del Bono has operated in the hospitality industry for over 15 years whilst the Ginza Project is one of the most powerful players in the world of Russian dining, with in excess of 100 restaurants between Moscow, St Petersburg, Rostov on Don, New York and now London.
MARI VANNA SAMPLE MENU
Borsch – Traditional beet & vegetable soup with beef in a smokey broth
Harcho – Georgian lamb soup with rice and Adjika (spicy tomato sauce)
Mushroom soup – Wild forest mushrooms with potato and sour cream
Olivier salad -Traditional potato and vegetable salad with Russian kielbasa
Vinaigrette with herring – Beet, carrots, pickled cucumber, green beans, potato and sunflower oil
Vegetable salad with crab meat and poached egg
Cod liver pâté with onion, radish and rye toast
Hashapuri – Georgian cheese pie
Draniki – Russian potato pancakes
Galubtzi – cabbage stuffed with meat and rice
Beef Stroganoff – Russian beef dish with buckwheat and mushrooms
Pelmeni -Traditional Russian Veal Dumplings
Chocolate Banana Cake
Smitannik – Sour Cream Cake
Address: 116 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7PJ
Reservations: +44(0) 207 581 5920 (from September 2011)
Seating Capacity: 120
Executive Chef: Alexander Belkovich
Opening: November 2011
Opening Times: Everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner – 7am-1am