Mari Vanna | Knightsbridge Restaurant
Finally the mythical Russian matriarch Mari Vanna has creaked open the doors to her long-awaited London residence.
Given the restaurant’s location between One Hyde Park and the Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge, one would imagine that Ms Vanna – who also has homes in Moscow and New York – wears a Prada apron to cook, regularly holidays on the Côte d’Azur and passes large quantities of her free time pootling around Harrods.
And yet her home, despite the glamour of its surroundings, harks back to a bygone era.
It offers up an authentic, warm and quirky taste of Russia: shelves filled with Matryoshka dolls, trinkets and ‘tchotchke’; old family photographs adorning the walls and a traditional Russian Pechka oven taking pride of place in the ornate dining room.
The kitchen serves traditional, babushka-style, Russian fare like Blinis with red or black caviar; borsch with pampushka (a Russian beetroot soup with smoked beef); Pelmeni (Siberian dumplings with a light herb sauce) and Ukrainian Galubtzi (meat and rice in cabbage parcels).
And, to wash it all down, a suitably (and predictably) large selection of vodkas that includes a range of house infusions like beetroot, cherry and seaberry.
“Call me what you like, only give me some vodka.”
– Russian Proverb.
Mari Vanna | Wellington Court, 116 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7PJ
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