Another week, another Friday night, another Mayfair Italian. This week the restaurant in question was Novikov, the new complex on Berkeley Street housing a bar, an Italian restaurant, and a Pan-Asian. As tacky as the concept seems - two restaurants in one - for some reason it works. Most likely because of the location, on Berkeley Street, which means it gets all the people who can’t get reservations/space at the bar at Nobu. To cut a long story short, within a few short months Novikov has become the place to be.
The Italian restaurant is certainly an impressive space, if a slightly strange one. First off, it’s massive, with incredibly high ceilings. Secondly, the ceiling is kind of slatted, with lights coming through the gaps, so it feels a bit like you are in a barn. Except this barn, has a hell of a lot of tables, an open work bench, and wallpaper. There is also the lighting, the ceiling lights, chandeliers, and concert style lighting on scaffolding, which makes it very bright and a bit like its daylight. Something I wish I had known before I arrived, in a black mini-dress, complete with mesh cut-outs and sleeves. Walking into what feels like a Tuscan barn in bright daylight in that outfit is not something I wish to repeat.
Anyway, back to the experience. We started with a glass of Franca Brut Prosecco each, olives and bread. Both which were rather good.
The food came swiftly, possibly to make up for the fact that we had all been about 30 minutes late, and had taken a similar amount of time to order.
Tuna with artichoke was very good. The tuna perfectly seared, with a seasoning that combined the artichoke perfectly. The Boyfriend definitely liked his seabass carpaccio judging by the fact that I wasn't offered any.
Pasta, was less impressive. My spaghetti with garlic and olive oil became cloggy within minutes and needed something to lift it into a more flavourful place. The Boyfriend, as deeply unimpressed with his Pappardelle with Rabbit Ragu, in which the Ragu seemed to be missing and the rabbit had taken on a chicken like look and flavour rather than the slow cooked beef The Boyfriend had expected.
The damage, for two courses for all three of us, a bottle of white wine, two glasses of champagne and a vodka cocktail came to £240.00. Cheap - not really. Memorable - not really. Will I go again - probably? There is a shortage of "scene restaurants" with decent food, and it was certainly better than our experience the previous Friday.
We moved to the bar downstairs after dinner, which didn't seem to have gotten used to a crowded Friday night in terms of timely service, however the lounge/bar is a good and cozy hangout place for a Friday night. I think unless you are dining there, you should make a booking for drinks as it gets pretty crowded rather early and a few people were asked if they had bookings.
Tip: Do not wear an outfit you would not be comfortable in broad daylight in. That Herve Leger dress? Would you feel okay wearing it to walk down Bond Street at Midday? If no, stick to something less show stopping.
Photo source: www.restorate.ru