Mari Vanna – Russian restaurant in Knightsbridge

A few weeks ago I received an email about Mari Vanna, a fairly new Russian restaurant in Knightsbridge. Their wholewheat pancakes looked so gorgeous I emailed right back to say so – you all know I love baking with whole grains.

Two weeks later a little surprise – they asked if I’d like to come and see their vintage Russian interior and maybe sample their wholewheat pancake. It coincided very nicely with my trip into London for The Set Table book party and off I set, camera in hand to discover the visual delights of the Mari Vanna interior.

The entire interior has been authentically done in the style of a wealthy Russian grandmother’s home. Traditional master crafters have attended to every detail from the distressed finishes on the chairs to folk painting on the dresser and serving table. The stained glass panel in the hallway is a magnificent feature as is the crystal chandelier.

Mari Vanna transports the visitor into another world. Luxurious and homely it’s easy to feel comfortable and relax here. And once you’ve sampled their beautiful infused vodkas you’ll relax even more.

I didn’t think I’d eaten Russian food before but it was very familiar, quite like my German Grandmother’s cooking. She was originally from the north of East Germany and the dark breads with fennel seed and gherkins – as well as the herbed butter reminded me a lot of her farmhouse kitchen.

Mutti was a farmer. She grew all her own berries and infused vodka in her kitchen so it was lovely to try Mari Vanna’s infusions. In order of savoury to sweet – horseradish, cucumber and dill, cranberry, cherry, raspberry, strawberry. The cherry was the winner, lovely and tart and full of taste.

I started with the Borscht, much lighter than expected – and not blended but made from fried grated vegetables infused in stock. The breads and herbed butter were gorgeous. I secretly wished I could have eaten it all.

The traditional Russian salad of peas, carrot, potato, boiled egg, chives and ham in mayonnaise was beautifully cut and very fine. Beef Stroganoff is an old favourite I haven’t had in a very long time – very creamy, it was served with mushroom and nutty tasting buckwheat groats. I would love the recipe for this.

And of course I had to try the wholewheat pancake for dessert, served with a yoghurt cream, fresh berries and chocolate sauce. The yoghurt cream had an interesting nutty texture with a gorgeous flavour.

My overall impression of the food was that it was very homemade and rustic, but the surprise was in how delicate it was. Quite like the interior. Very much created with the tender touch of a smiling, welcoming, generous grandmother.







9 responses to “Mari Vanna – Russian restaurant in Knightsbridge”

  1. Igor avatar

    Wow this looks really fab! I think I’ve never been to a Russian restaurant…

    1. Charlotte | Anknel and Burblets avatar

      I bet you will go there one day!!! You would love it x

  2. Nadine avatar

    that looks amazing 🙂 fantastic interior!!

    1. Charlotte | Anknel and Burblets avatar

      It really was something Nadine – I loved it!!

  3. Rosa avatar

    I love the mood of your blog, the way you talk and write through pictures.

    1. Charlotte | Anknel and Burblets avatar

      Thank you Rosa – that’s truly the best thing anybody has said to me since I can’t remember when.

  4. Daniela avatar

    Oh my goodness! this Russian restaurant looks amazing and the food looks delicious! What a beautiful place, love the decoration… very inspirational… thank you for sharing with us!

    1. Charlotte | Anknel and Burblets avatar

      You are welcome Daniela – it certainly was fun discovering Mari Vanna!!

  5. Lottie :: Oyster & Pearl avatar

    Wow, how incredibly beautiful! Such attention to detail, I love it.

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