Mari Vanna marries Knightsbridge elegance with Russian hospitality.
On the one hand, you’ve got the fabulous decadence of Bob Bob Ricard. On the other, the rustic charm of Maggie Jones’s. Whilst one could bounce rather happily between the two, we’ve happened upon a spot that brings together the best of both worlds: Mari Vanna.
Mari Vanna’s decor is extremely photogenic, all chintzy furniture, chandeliers, and upmarket crockery, dotted around a space which looks like an overly comfy living room. Oh, and because no Insta-friendly restaurant in this day and age should be in wont of a photogenic bathroom, you’ll be pleased to know that Mari Vanna’s toilets definitely make the grade.
Christmas, meanwhile, sees Mari Vanna kick the cosiness up a notch:
The restaurant is named after your fictional hostess, and honestly you’ll wander around here expecting to be fussed over by a particularly attentive babushka, who’ll then proceed to fill you with delicious food – and honestly, the reality isn’t that far off.
Dishes are delightfully heavy on the carbs, starting with the pirogis – stuffed with the likes of minced beef, pork, or sea bass – and blinis topped with sour cream, egg, and red onion. Borsht, chock full of beef and beetroot, should see you through a Moscow winter, let alone a London one, as will the golubtzi, which are stuffed cabbage rolls.
Elsewhere on the menu, beef stroganoff, sturgeon, and baked chickens will leave you more stuffed than those cabbage rolls, and that’s before you even turn your eyes to the dessert menu. Napoleons may be rubbing France’s face in it somewhat, but the cream-filled pastries are inarguably delicious, and the gorka, or ‘little hill’ is a traditional must-try (it’s pastry tubes filled with sour cherry and then drenched in a sweetened sour cream).
Mari Vanna will do you brunch as well, which just adds to the sense that you’re underfed and they’re trying to fatten you up a little. Less nutritious, but equally winning, are Mari Vanna’s spin on classic cocktails, with the Maripolitan and a Chekhov-inspired Cherry Orchard being the standouts. You really Moscow here!
Featured image: @marivannalondon
Also published on Medium.