Mari Vanna, a Heavenly Haven for the Ultimate Russian Dining Experience.
Head out for an enchanting Russian experience and see for yourself just how dining at Mari Vanna will transport you back through time to the splendor and decadence of old St. Petersburg.
Owned by Vadim Lapim, Dmitry Sergeyev, and Luca Del Bono, Mari Vanna so brilliantly captures the flavor and richness of a Russian tearoom. The hanging crystal chandeliers, subdued floral-print blue wallpaper, grand mirrors, and vintage décor found in the cozy dining room makes you forget altogether that you’re in central London.
Making my way up the carpet-lined stairs and taking note of the lovely fresh flowers along the entranceway, I imagined that a restaurant sitting in the posh and ritzy district of Knightsbridge, amongst well known department stores like Harrods and Harvey Nichols, would be all high in their prices and with their social airs – but quite the contrary! I was immediately given a warm greeting by the young female hostess, who was only too glad to lead me towards my reserved window table for two, as well as by my server, who was very attentive and quite knowledgeable about the restaurant and it’s featured summer lunch specials.
Giving customers a real taste of Russia, the extensive menu consists of interesting and delicious dishes, from starters to main meals, that are built upon the 5 most typical Russian food products: eggs, bread, potato, butter, and some sort of meat (typically beef). As for drinks, you can have typical Russian juices like raspberry, kvas or cranberry, as well as the naturally sweet and quite popular red wine from eastern Georgia. For those of you more interested in the typical go-to drink in a russian restaurant, you must choose from the vodka selection. At Mari Vanna, the two vodkas that you must try are horseradish vodka and honey vodka. Whether with your main meal or with your desert, both are sure to cleanse and compliment your taste buds.
I ordered the Borsch (a classic Russian beef and beetroot soup with pampushka and sour cream) and my friend ordered the Olivier with Ox Tongue (a salad consisting of carrots, marinated cucumber, peas, baked potatoes, ox tongue, and a light mayonnaise dressing, neatly served in a glass dish). The savory starter dishes were a tad bit on the sweet side and while the Borsch was light, the Olivier with ox tongue was a bit more filling. However, nothing could keep us fromdigging into our main meals. The Vareniki with potato was a potato and mushroom filled dumpling served with a small side of cucumber dill sauce and the Vegetable salad with crab was full of ripe tomatoes, marinated artichokes, avocado, crab, and yellow & red peppers. Compared to the tasty Vareniki, the salad was fresh and light – perfect for the summertime! And of course we each ordered our own deserts; one layered honey cake for myself and one chocolate fudge cake for my friend.
While waiting for the delictable desert to be prepared, I couldn’t help but admire the fine porcelain china neatly arranged in the white cupboards along one side of the wall, or even the hanging framed and somewhat faded portraits scattered here and there. Everything is mix matched and quirky, yet also quite subtle and resembles something of a delicate dollhouse.
Not one thing stands out as completely out of place. Mari Vanna has the ability to look like a country cottage during the day with natural sunlight complimenting the clean and crisp white table doilies and off-white parlor style furniture. However, Mari Vanna also has the ability to dim the lights and turn into an elegant and dressed up dining room in the evenings.
So if you’re looking for a lovely place for you and the ladies to take a leisurely lunch or tea, head into Mari Vanna for an afternoon full of Russian flair. Choosing from their fantastic and fabulous set lunch menu options, you’ll see that Mari Vanna is reasonably priced anywhere from £18 to £35.
Address: Wellington Court, 116 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7PJ
Reservations: +44 (0) 207 225 3122
Hayley is a 23-yr-old traveling fashionista currently living in London.View all Hayley Samela posts.