We are pleased to announce that after many months of detailed work, Russian restaurant Mari Vanna is set to throw open its doors to weary travellers and diners alike from the beginning of March in London’s Knightsbridge.
At a Spoon HQ tasting session last week we were impressed by the sincerity found in both the restaurant’s cooking and service. Stand out dishes that we have tasted so far are the comforting Borsht served with smoked beef and sour cream, Caviar Blinis and Beef Stroganoff served with buckwheat and a touch of theatre. Our out and out favourite however were the seafood Pelmeni dumplings.
We are very close to having some photography (we are shooting early next week) so will have something to show you very soon. In the meantime, the restaurant’s lavish chandeliers, welcoming entrance hall and bejewelled trinket-filled cabinets have been captured on the Mari Vanna blog for you to look at.
With the Maslenitsa Festival (the largest celebration of Russian culture, art, music and food anywhere outside Russia) taking place at the end of this month, Russian Fashion Week celebrations taking place at the V & A and Faberge’s Big Egg Hunt taking place in the weeks leading up to Easter, it seems as if the whole of London is embracing all things Russian.
The Spoon team is bursting with Russian recipes and ideas for pancake day, Easter, lavish parties and comforting home-cooking alike and are armed with some of Russia’s finest caviar, vodka and beetroots to help us on our way. Do get in touch if you need help sorting your Harcho from your Hashapuri.
We are looking forward to welcoming you into this jewellery box of a restaurant and inviting you to sample some true Russian hospitality.
Sarah, Alice and Ailsa and the rest of the Spoon team x
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE:
HOMELY MARI VANNA RESTAURANT SET TO OPEN IN LONDON IN
Situated in the heart of Knightsbridge, Mari Vanna is set to open its doors on the 1st March 2012. The Mari Vanna menu will offer “babushka cooking” – homely cooking in the time honoured tradition. Russian dishes with influences from Armenia, Georgia and Uzbekistan are presented with a fresh, contemporary look. Transported to the most elegant area of the city, the restaurant will display true Russian hospitality, a rare find inLondon.
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 local neighbourhood restaurant and a hit with international aficionados. With extraordinary attention to detail, Mari Vanna will transport each guest into a retrospective style Russian home where shelves are adorned with matryoshka dolls, trinkets and tchotchke. A traditional Russian Pechka oven, prominent in many Russian tales, takes pride of place in the dining room. Set against a fine backdrop with high ceilings adorned with elaborate chandeliers, Mari Vanna displays cosy details within an unparalleled and delightfully comfortable setting.
The menu shows Russian cuisine in a new light. In addition to wonderful cakes and plentiful tea assortments, traditional dishes such as Pelmeni (Russian veal dumplings with a light herb sauce) and Borsch with Pampushka (a beetroot soup with smoked beef) feature on the menu alongside dishes such as Harcho (a rich Georgian lamb soup with rice), Adjika (a spicy tomato sauce) and Ukrainian Galubtzi (meat and rice encased in cabbage leaves).
A wide range of vodka varieties awaits the connoisseur at the bar, and the Mari Vanna cocktail menu turns old classics into contemporary creations inspired by all things Russian.
Launched initially 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. Luca Del Bono has operated in the hospitality industry for over 15 years, whilst Ginza Project is one of the most established players in the world of Russian dining, with in excess of 70 restaurants between Moscow, St Petersburg, Rostov on Don, New York and now London.
MARI VANNA SAMPLE MENU
Borscht – traditional Russian beetroot & vegetable broth with smoked beef
Harcho – Georgian lamb soup with rice and Adjika (spicy tomato sauce)
Mushroom soup – wild forest mushrooms with potato and sour cream
Salad Olivier -traditional potato and vegetable salad with Russian kielbasa
Herring Pod Shuboy (herring under a fur coat) – salted herring, beetroot and potato with a mayonnaise dressing
Vegetable salad with crab meat and poached egg
Blinis with red or black caviar
Hashapuri – Georgian pie baked with Suluguni cheese and egg
Pirozhki – small stuffed Russian pies with cabbage, meat or seabass
Galubtzi – cabbage stuffed with meat and rice
Beef Stroganoff – Russian beef dish with buckwheat and mushrooms
Pelmeni – Russian seafood dumplings
Napoleon – layers of puff pastry and Napoleon cream
Smitannik – sour cream cake with strawberries
Address: Wellington Court, 116 Knightsbridge,London, SW1X 7PJ
Reservations: +44(0) 207 581 5920
Seating Capacity: 116
Executive Chef: Alexander Belkovich
Opening Times: Everyday for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner