MariVanna Baku - Homecoming Meals To Dine With Friends

From lace curtains that embraces you on the threshold, past century antique chandeliers imported from The Netherlands, glassed cabinets sheltering old books to welcoming donuts wrapped around a samovar and candies on a giant bowl on the table, MariVanna Baku restaurant wants you to feel the wonders of this home to their fullest, not forgetting its sumptuous rustic cross culture cuisine. You have to come here at least once. mylifestylenews writes.

It is always refreshing to travel to a foreign city you have never visited before and throw caution to the wind and book a restaurant that would not be your usual choice. When in Baku, you notice so many influences from around the region, so not only are you hearing and seeing the local language and architecture, but also influences from Russia when they were a part of the USSR. If you google the top 10 restaurants in Baku, there is one that really attracts your eye due to the amazing interior design as wells as their rustic gastronomy – MariVanna Restaurant Baku.

So, MariVanna was at the top of our list and we couldn’t wait to see what all the fuss – low key fuss that is – was about! It is part of a ubiquitous restaurant chain that has outposts in many other countries and while we could not make it to where it all started in Moscow just yet, it has spread its wings to St. Petersburg, New York, Washington D.C. and even London.

We figured that Baku must be a close second as a previous Russian outpost. From the exterior, the façade makes you think of a country house with all the wooden cladding, but on entering the restaurant proper, you feel as if you have been invited to a friend’s house for dinner – a very aristocratic friend for that matter – as it takes your breath away.

Plus, until you explore all the interior design and decor, you have no concept of how large the place is and how eclectic the design and how there are many different rooms – the salon with many bookcases filled to the brim with books, the dining room with shelves filled with Chinas and preserved jars of vegetables and fruits orderly displayed on the shelves, private designed themed dining rooms (one for men and one for women, should you so desire – with a fit out to match such distinctions)  at the back of the building through an open air courtyard where a beer garden is to be transformed in the summer including a dining room for parents to be able to keep tabs on their children across the hallway in the ‘nursery” land of playground.

MariVanna has a total massive capacity and layout to cater for family and facilities offered that has been thoroughly considered to provide the comfort and ease of mind for a dining out experience.

We had never seen anything quite like this, with wooden tables dressed with mismatched doily placemats and cut crystal water tumblers, along with mismatched chairs, marble mantlepieces filled with crystal candelabras, display cases filled to the brim with elegant porcelain. We couldn’t help but soak up the atmosphere and examine every detail, as it is all eye-catching and so unique in its Russian influenced style as they take their interior design very seriously to establish their credentials. The thing is, it all comes together and looks sumptuous, while exuding a warmth and coziness that gives you a feeling of anticipation for what was to unfold for the evening.

The menu arrives and that too catches the eye, with printed paper attached to a wooden board affixed by a spoon, plus you also have a tablet to look at everything digitally and the photos help us (not a local resident) to understand what to expect, in case anything gets lost in translation. It is an extensive menu and it took us some time to get a handle on the breadth of offerings, but in the end, we left it up to the front of house team to surprise us and that they surely did.

Within minutes, a flight of house infused vodkas arrived which was an unexpected surprise. After the first tastes, a delightful one, with raspberry, cranberry, cherry, strawberry and blackcurrant infused flavours to taste and all were fabulous and much less alcoholic content than the normal vodkas, hovering around 25 % in volume, much to our relief especially when you are not a huge vodka fan – from a Russian’s influence.

If this is your first time to experience a genuine Russian meal, be prepared to challenge your taste bud with the exploration of the unknown (with a pleasant ending mostly) as well as the generous portions being served to fill your stomach. And so the surprise selection of food came out gradually, beginning with cold starters.

<Mors with Raspberries>
A freshly homemade seasonal raspberry mors is a must try. The one-liter jug of this juicy and rich fruit drink (not the watery version) made into a very concentrated syrup and diluted with water and carbonated water is simply refreshing and appetizing to begin our Russian evening dining soujorn.

<Dressed Herring Salad>
Looks can be deceiving sometimes, this dressed herring salad (herring under the coat) is topped with layers of chopped herring, roasted carrots, beetroots, potatoes and eggs in mayonnaise dressing is quite a welcoming dish for its surprising delightful palate instead of the fishy impression that you may have thought. The subtle flavours with the herring not too strong, creating a very harmonious dish with all the combinations.

<Stolichni Salad with Chicken>
This vegetable salad with chicken tossed well with mayonnaise was another homey style of salad that ticked all the boxes and was very tasty. Comfort food that pleases everyone’s desire without failed.

This traditional Russian beetroot salad presented in a glassed sundae salad bowl with roughly diced beetroots and mixed legumes is juicy and has a great flavor.

<Jellied Meat>
Roughly minced beef in a glossy see through layer of chucky jelly in great presentation and exceedingly tasty, plus the mustard accompaniment on the side adds the right piquancy as well as the pickles to balance the rich flavor.

<Fresh Vegetable Platter>
Despite just organic freshly green vegetables and herbs with some varieties unknown to us, it was superbly fresh and delicious and more pungent which we loved. This was beautifully presented and packed with flavor and a genuine taste of nature. It turned out to be one of our favorite dishes in the evening but don’t get us wrong, we love our meat dearly.

 <Small Russian Pies>
This basket of small Russian pies looks more like a dinner roll and yet this is another classic Russian dish that has cabbage as its main ingredient, but with the addition of meat that made it a must try.

Dumplings are a must-have when it comes to Russian food sampling. This Vareniki Russian dumplings dish filled with potato, mushroom and fried onion may be very local to the region, but it is also reminiscent of Italian ravioli and a thicker paste dough Chinese dumplings. The fried onion was the soul for this dish that enhances the entire flavor and it was so delicious and so more-ish.

No one should leave the table without ordering a warm bowl of Borsht in any Russian restaurant, especially in the winter. This masterpiece of Ukranian cuisine is tradition personified and while it may conjure up images of a heavy meat soup in many people’s imaginations, it was absolutely delish! The soup contains beetroot, beef, served with garlic, fresh herbs and homemade bread. You also must add the cream, garlic butter and sour cream at the table to give it a full-rounded flavor. It truly is a must order and another highlight for the evening.

<Chicken Kiev>
 When you think you know this dish, you need to taste MariVanna’s recipe as it was simply delectable and no fault detected. The chicken was perfectly crumbed and not oily (to a certain standard of a good Japanese tempura) on the outside and it was juicy and moist accompanied by a bed of creamy yet light mashed potatoes and green salad. It was a standout for the evening and you don’t want to miss this!

<Ballr Piroq Medovike>
Lastly, Desserts came to the table, even though our appetites were waning, so we narrowed it down to the Honey Cake and Chocolate and Cherry Cake - two very contrasting cakes to be sure. This traditional Russian honey layer cake was rich and very intense in flavor with a lightness and not too sweet.

<Xamali Ballr Tort>
This almost a Russian version of “Black Forest Cake” was equally intense, particularly the cherries in between the dense (but light) layers of chocolate sponge. The key to both cakes, was that they were not too heavy and not too sweet, if that is possible to say at least to our palate and liking.

The front of house service team was impeccable and went out of their way to help us understand each dish and need to be commended for their patience and passion to help us enjoy a cuisine that we were not that familiar with. We were reluctant to bring the evening to an end after so much delicious food and the evocation of someone’s dining room that we were soaking up with much pleasure. Now we have experienced the Baku outpost of MariVanna, we will be eager to try another elsewhere in the world and certainly, to feel the wonders of this home to the fullest with homecoming meals to dine with friends. Everyone is invited!

Tried & Tested:
Location: 4.5/5
Design & Decor: 5/5
Food & Beverage: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Value For Money: 4.5/5
Experience: 4.5/5

Chicken Kiev
 Fresh Vegetable Platter

93 Zarifa Aliyeva Street
Baku, Azerbaijan
Tel: +994 1 2404 9595

Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated. 

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