Glass lunches at London’s Novikov Italian

SITUATED in-between London’s Green Park and the prestigious Berkeley Square in Mayfair lies the famous Novikov restaurant. Split into two restaurants, offering Asian cuisine on the first floor and Italian downstairs, the eponymous restaurant of Russian entrepreneur Arkady Novikov boasts a history of A-list diners and opulent interior mirroring the sought-after location and postcode of the place.

Opening its doors in 2011, it was the first venture outside of the restaurateur’s home country and this autumn, it celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Novikov Italian Review

Interior of Novikov Italian

Invited to have a taste of the European side of Novikov, the bronze bordered doors on Berkeley Street opened and I was taken down the stairs, surrounded by racks of wine to a finely lit, panelled wood dining area.

As you enter the Italian restaurant, the left side offers guests a glimpse into the magic the chefs are whipping up for them in an open-plan kitchen with fresh produce, ranging from ice-coated crustaceans to neatly grown herbs and shining vegetables standing proud like statues around it.

Novikov Italian Review

Display of Fresh Produce at Novikov Italian

The table draped in white linen was promptly given us our first taste of the food as an elegant bread basket offering a spectrum of delights, including Focaccia Pane di Carasau and breadsticks helped tone down my hunger as I looked at the menu.

There are two options of the meal, either the full menu or a reasonably priced two-three course lunch menu that comes with the option of adding a glass of wine or prosecco – and for Mayfair, it really does not get much better in value than this.

Novikov Italian Review

Interior of Novikov Italian

Though the menu offers a handful of vegan options, even boasting the luxury of having their food grown in at the Brent Eleigh Walled garden in Suffolk, there is a heavy focus on meat and fish, proposing a remarkably wide variety of both.

Beginning with the Quinoa salad with peppers, red onion, peas, greens and olives as well as the Scottish salmon tartar with pomegranate and yoghurt dressing, the two starters were light leaving myself and my guest hungry enough for the main course.

The natural, unprocessed taste in my mouth when eating these two dishes was something you hardly achieve when dining out, usually the feeling of heavy indulgence creeps into you but instead the opposite happened.

Novikov Italian Review

Asparagus Risotto with Summer Black Truffle

With such an extensive list of mains, the challenge to pick one is far more difficult than expected. From English Asparagus and Egg with truffle to Scarlet Mediterranean Prawns and Parsley and Linguine with Lobster – I dare you to try and choose a single dish.

Wanting to try a spin on a classic, I chose fettuccine with veal ragu; a dish that melted in my mouth with every bite. And in classic Italian style, of course my dessert was the traditional tiramisu, which I really cannot recommend enough.

Novikov Italian Review

Whole Sea Bass with Crudaiola Sauce (for 2)

The food at Novikov does not overcomplicate Italian food. The recipes have stayed the same for years, the only difference is the introduction of expensive ingredients.

Unlike many places, the taste difference is evident and you do pay the price for that too. Overall, it is no surprise that this restaurant has sailed through the past ten years and become a firm favourite for many as the name rings around rooms as a choice for their next meal.

by Imogen Clark 

Novikov Italian, 50A Berkeley St, London W1J 8HA

Lunch menu starts at £22 for two courses