Novikov - Asian restaurant
Novikov was the first restaurant I ever reviewed, when I started doing my food reviews a year and a half ago. At that point though I was not taking any pictures and also the reviews were a few lines short, so I thought I should do another, better review. When I first went to Novikov I gave it MMM, but after visiting it this time I think the food has truly improved and is good, and if before it would not be one of the obvious places to go to for me, then now it is.
Novikov opened at the end of 2011 on Berkeley street, in front of Nobu, and it was the first restaurant that Mr Arkady Novikov (who owns over 60 restaurants in Moscow) opened outside of Moscow. Novikov is your one stop destination during an evening, as it has a great bar downstairs on the ground floor (very dark and opulent with nice furniture, very Russian style) where you can go before your meal or after it. There are two restaurants in Novikov, the Asian one (which has Japanese and Chinese food) as well as the Italian restaurant and the Asian restaurant where I went to, is located just on the left hand side when you walk in. The Italian restaurant is one level down, in between the bar and the Asian restaurant, and the décor is very different to the Asian one. In the Asian restaurant there is also an open kitchen on one side, so you can see the chefs cook and also you can see crates of fresh vegetables stacked outside the kitchen as well as fresh fish placed on ice, and you can go there and select the fish that you want. They have all sorts of amazing fish, including lobsters, razor clams, langoustines and are actually better than some specialized fish restaurants, and you can see a picture of all these great fish below. We actually saw a tuna cheek there and ordered this as one of our dishes, as we liked tuna and the rest of the fish seemed too big for us.
When we were seated we ordered some drinks and I loved the small pot of fresh vegetables that the waiters brought you instantly served with some nice sauces. This is such a nice and delicious way how to enjoy vegetables and a great snack before the main meal. My friends that I knew on the table next to us ordered some edamame, and you can have 2 types of edamame (similar to other Japanese restaurants) either with sea salt or spicy Szechuan edamamame, and as before my dinner table had arrived I was sitting by their table, you can see the edamame they had. It was good, just like it should be, very similar to the edamame in Zuma. When my dinner buddy Andras arrived we ordered “Yellowtail With Red Chilli & Coriander”, “Shrimp, coriander & thai yam bean dumpling”, a selection of sushi, “Fresh saudi prawn tempura, tensuyu sauce” and the seared beef salad to start with. I very much enjoyed the yellowtail, I love the yellowtail in Zuma and think this is one of my favourite dishes in London, and here the yellowtail was very similar and delicious. The selection of sushi (mysteriously I don’t seem to have taken a picture of this) was also very good and similar to sushi in Zuma, fresh and with more fish than rice (I mention Zuma so much as I gave it 5 Ms and this one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in London, so it sets a benchmark). The shrimp, coriander and thai yam bean dumplings were excellent as well, very soft, tasty and full of flavour. I was not the biggest fan of the seared beef salad, as I did not think it had that much flavour, and I was hoping it would have more seared beef and less leaves, but my friend Ben really liked it. The prawn tempura was also good, but slightly too much batter for my liking.
After the lighter dishes we moved on to the more substantial ones, and besides the tuna cheek which I mentioned, we also ordered 75gms of “Seared wagyu sirloin with teriyaki ponzu sauce” and “Spicy glazed lamb cutlets” and to go with this some rice and mixed green vegetables with garlic. The tuna cheek was ok. It was served with a Japanese type of ginger sauce which I liked, but there was not that much tuna to eat in the cheek. The wagyu beef was excellent, as it should be. The lamb chops I did not particularly like though, they were not as tasty as other lamb chops I have had in similar restaurants, like Zuma, and had quite a bit of fat on them. The vegetables with garlic were tasty and good.
My desert was the “ Selection of seasonal exotic fruit platter with sorbet”, very similar to the fruit platter in Zuma, although I do think Zuma does a slightly better one, with a wider selection of fruits, Ben chose the Banana crumble which was great, and I loved how they had used bananas and created an interesting version of the English typical apple crumble desert. Andras chose a coconut type of desert, which I tasted and also liked.
Last time I went to Novikov was more than a year ago shortly after it had first opened and I did not think the food was that good and also thought you could not have a restaurant that does Chinese and Japanese food together well in the same restaurant. After this visit, I like Novikov, and think they are successful at creating good Asian food with also a fresh fish element. I think Novikov is very similar to Zuma (so it is an Asian restaurant with a strong Japanese influence) which I rank 5Ms, and a lot of the dishes are comparable and equally good although there are quite a few which Zuma does better. Also Novikov is more expensive than Zuma, which is not really obvious as to why it would be. So if you are bored of Zuma, want a new restaurant, do go to Novikov and you will have a very similar, although not quite as excellent, in my view, meal.
Price for 3 people with alcohol and service charge: £448.31