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But despite it now being over two decades since the USSR disintegrated, and despite the growing numbers of eastern Europeans now living in London, I had still not dined in a Russian restaurant. But that was easily rectified when I was invited to a Winter Warmer dinner at Mari Vanna. Following the success of sister restaurants in St Petersburg, Moscow and New York, Mari Vanna opened in Kinghstbridge, London in December 2011, a stone’s throw from Harrods. Walking into the candlelit interior is like stepping into the parlour of your eccentric Russian maiden aunt, who has a hoarding problem. Every inch of wall and...
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Mari Vanna, a Russian restaurant with subsidiaries in Moscow, St. Petersburg and New York, has recently opened a new outpost in – who would have guessed – the Little Russia of London, Knightsbridge. I naturally assumed it would be an overpriced pretentious place for noveau-riche Russians (well, this might have been covered with Novikov) and was pleasantly surprised to read a variety of good reviews (The Skinny Bib, John Lancaster at the Guardian )...
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Mari Vanna is a mythical Russian hostess who welcomes you into her pimped up fantasy dacha and then stuffs you with pancakes, dumplings, cream and cakes, washed down with intensely flavoured vodkas. You submit because she is utterly charming and seductive; as you leave you realise that not only has she emptied your wallet but also that your trousers don’t seem to fit anymore...
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