Restaurant review: Novikov, Mayfair, W1

The fresh fish and vegetable market is a nice touch

The fresh fish and vegetable market is a nice touch - Credit: Archant

A sprawling behemoth encompassing both an Asian and Italian section over two floors, Novikov is a beast of restaurant.

The interior is impressive, but uninspiring

The interior is impressive, but uninspiring - Credit: Archant

Impressive, but it has to be said the decor on the Asian floor at least is a bit corporate and rather uninspiring – not helped by the Ibiza chill-out soundtrack played constantly.

Busy and bustling though, even on a Monday night, and it has some lovely touches – including a fresh fish and vegetable market where you can pick ingredients and have the chef whip them into something of his recommendation or your choosing.

Less lovely is the price – it’s not cheap and the portions are fairly small. But it is in Mayfair, and despite these misgivings I really enjoyed the food.

The menu is large and encompasses a bewildering array of pan-Asian cuisine, so it seemed wise to pick and share a few tasters.

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After munching a few chilli edamame beans we had some fantastic dim sum, chock full of prawn and invigorating coriander.

The sashimi was also great; light, crisp and zesty while the soft shell crab maki –complete with a claw making a break from the roll for freedom – was nice enough but overpriced.

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The standard remained high on the main courses; the succulent steak came cubed with a lively chilli sauce and the sea bass, smothered in chilli and garlic, was delicate with an unexpected hint of sweetness.

A suspiciously good banana crumble later and we were away.

The service was a bit of a let down – in your face when you didn’t need them, nowhere to be found when you did – but it was still a thoroughly good meal.

There may not be much character to the restaurant, but there’s bags in the food.

Jon Dean

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