Novikov – Mayfair’s three floor, glamorous three in one see-and-be-seen destination venue is no stranger to the London dining scene and even has a private jet delivery menu. Look beyond this Mayfair frontage and you will discover a true dedication to the best ingredients and a wide choice of delicacies on offer.
On the ground floor is a buzzing Asian restaurant whilst in the basement, a louche lounge bar. Between these sits an Italian restaurant with all the class and elegance of Roberto Cavalli crossed with The Kremlin. Fronted by an amazing display of live seafood, truffles and other Italian produce, the room is marble floored with a high palacial ceiling, rustic chandeliers, fresh flowers, potted herbs and a vast wine library.
The food menu of almost 100 options is comprehensive so we suggest reading up before although a charming front of house team (who sing happy birthday to lucky guests with great gusto and sparklers) are always ready to help. If you are the type to umm and ahh over what to choose, this could tip you over the edge and in need of a beautifully made gin martini from the bar with a double twist of Amalfi lemon.
The best way to experience Novikov is in true Italian sharing style – a couple of starters, pasta as a middle course and then some fish or meat. What we loved about the menu was that you could spend as much (Royal caviar at £89 for 50 grams) or as little (gorgeous crispy roast potatoes with rosemary for £7) as you like and still enjoy a great meal.
We touched at the start about ingredients. The quality and provenance of ingredients throughout is impressive with proper Italian produce (olive oil, burrata and much more), fresh local seafood (we tried native lobster and langoustines) and their own varieties of micro herbs, salads and vegetables grown in a walled garden by Mr and Mrs Stephens at Brent Eleigh Hall in Suffolk.
To begin, a generous basket of breads (great focaccia) kicked off our feast. This was followed by a creamy rich burrata with sweet aromatic datterini tomatoes from Sicily. A stand out dish was a deceivingly simple king crab salad with avocado and the simplicity of this plate made the king crab textures and flavour stand out.
For our pasta course, we had two contrasting items. Seasonal truffled tagliolini arrived and was then dressed tableside by a white gloved manager with a gram or two of fresh white truffle. In contrast, linguine with Scottish lobster was so tender and packing a lobster punch from a rich, full lobster bisque.
For mains, the dish of Italian dons, the Tagliata, had to be road tested for authenticity and it really was. A delicious combination of sliced medium-rare beef fillet with carefully cut (not grated) parmesan and rocket, dressed in cooking juices, garlic and a Novikov twist of tangy Worcester sauce. For dessert, we would recommend a sharing platter with a little of everything (especially tiramisu) and a glass of fragrant dense grappa.
As much as small menus make us feel safe, having a big choice was enjoyable. This is what makes Novikov all encompassing – we left feeling like their Italian restaurant was somewhere we could take the mother-in-law, go on a date night or take the family for a leisurely weekend lunch.
To discover more, visit: www.novikovrestaurant.co.uk
By Mark Captain