Mansarda is one of the Ginza Project group of restaurants which is a huge network covering off the Russian cities of Moscow, St Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don and Tula. In St Petersburg, many of its venues pride themselves on amazing views of the city. We chose Mansarda, given it was in an area of the city we hadn’t explored and it overlooked the dramatic St Isaac’s Cathedral.

Battling intermittent rain, we negotiated the St Petersburg metro (even cheaper than Moscow but with the same incredibly long escalator rides and elegantly appointed stations) and found ourselves again not far from the gigantic Neva River, but on the other side of Nevsky Prospekt from the famed Hermitage museum. We had a landmark to navigate towards – the imposing gold dome of the cathedral – and soon found ourselves in front of a rarity in this city, a modern building.

The restaurant was typical of a lot we’d seen in Russia. Men lounged around in somewhat casual clothes and women were dressed to impress. Taking flowers to restaurants seems to be a big thing here and the wait staff were constantly off to the kitchen holding bouquets that were placed in water-filled carafes for the duration.

There’s an enormous main floor which is already bustling by the time we arrive at 7pm. We’re shown to possibly the worst table in the place, right next to the swing door used constantly by staff ferrying plates in and out of the kitchen but at least it faced on to the cathedral. Gluttonous husband didn’t seem to mind …

Russian restauarants are also big on picture menus. This one went on and on, and on with a huge range of dishes on offer, crossing over a wide range of cuisines. There were pages devoted to sushi rolls, to pizza. We were looking for something with a little more interest.

Again, with bottles of wine and champagne too expensive to contemplate, we started with cocktails. The restaurant’s own raspberry concoction for Greedy Girl and a supremely good gin and tonic for gluttonous husband. It was time to sort out the food.

Gluttonous husband was first exposed to Vorschmack at White Rabbit in Moscow. Here, it was on offer with black bread and he again jumped at the chance to have it. This mixture of minced fish and meat with onions is very popular in northern Europe and gluttonous husband said he believed this one had been made with herring. He was well pleased with the balance but was resigned to the fact he was unlikely to get a kiss goodnight.

Where to eat St Petersburg Mansarda

Vorschmack with black bread

Greedy Girl had the dish featured at the top of this blog – a very acceptable foie gras with a delightful apricot relish and brioche toast. While she prefers her foie gras seared, this cold dish had a great combination of flavours. Knowing we both needed bread for our first courses, Greedy Girl also ordered a serving of what the restaurant termed classic foccacia. This was more like a pizza crust topped with rosemary and salt. It was on reserve for when we ran out of the bread serving with our starters, which happened quite quickly.

Where to eat St Petersburg Mansarda

Classic focaccia

Main courses were up next. Gluttonous husband had drained his gin so asked for a glass of Russian red wine he’d spied on the menu. It wasn’t too bad at all. One of the vagaries of eating in most Russian restaurants is that we were rarely asked after our initial drinks order whether we’d like anything further. It was probably down to the language issues but still, we found it very strange.

Greedy Girl took a light dish of zucchini pancakes with smoked salmon and a light sour cream sauce. It was presented well and perfectly edible but the salmon had no real flavour and Greedy Girl resorted to the salt shaker to get something happening with her palate.

Where to eat St Petersburg Mansarda

Salmon with zucchini fritters

Gluttonous husband took Chicken Kiev. It wasn’t quite what he expected, not having lashings of garlicky butter oozing out from the first cut. It was more of a parsley butter than anything. The chicken was served on top of sauteed mushrooms and onions and an onion puree, with a small copper saucepan of very creamy and silky mash on the side. The one downside to that was its temperature – lukewarm. Still, gluttonous husband happily tucked in.

Where to eat St Petersburg Mansarda

Chicken Kiev

Done. With the volume of food on this trip, we decided not to have dessert and made for the exit.

There’s certainly a huge amount of variety on offer in Russia – much more than we’d been led to believe. With the exceptional White Rabbit leading the fine dining charge, it stands to reason Russia will be a place to watch in future for great cuisine.


3, Pochtamtskaya Street, St Petersburg

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