First Impressions – Novikov Italian

So, for my 30th birthday, Shiima decided, rather surprisingly, to take me for dinner at Novikov Italian. As you might know, cos we’ve written about it, we both love Novikov Asian. We’d both looked through the menu of Novikov Italian but variety of the dishes we thought was limited, and we aren’t really fans of Italian restaurants, especially cos I don’t like to dine out on what I can cook at home, and I make a few good pasta dishes lol.

On our way to the restaurant though, I got a message from one of my friends letting me know to meet them downstairs at the bar, and with that the surprise dinner Shiima planned with my friends was blown, but I very touched and more than excited. Novikov Italian is more homely in its décor than Novikov Asian. For one thing, it’s much brighter. Speaking more about the décor, much care is taken to transport you aesthetically to Italy; it’s utterly elegant. The background music as well is classic Italian. The diners in Novikov Italian, at least on this Sunday night, seemed older, and they were also a lot of families. The staff is also more professional, less friendly than Novikov Asian – I prefer the friendlier vibe, myself.

The menu, although not as extensive as Novikov Italian, was more than adequate for the seven of us. I chose the trio of smoked swordfish, eel, & salmon for starters, and the roasted sea bass fillet served with sweet & sour roasted peppers. Shiima chose the fried baby calamari and the oven baked corn fed baby chicken. For starters, my friends chose the fried tiger prawns, and the mozzarella & tomatoes; and for the main they chose Lamb cutlets, tagliolini, orecchiette duck ragu and savoy cabbage, and the roasted baby lamb shoulder cooked in clay. We also ordered mashed potatoes, broccoli, and roast potatoes as sides to share.

The entire table enjoyed the basket of breads and the really delicious aubergine and chickpea humus. I had a bit if Shiima’s fried calamari and it was really good, seasoned with a good amount of paprika, which gave it a nice kick. My starter was a tad underwhelming; it didn’t really have much flavour, but the fish was really fresh, as you’d expect. I didn’t try anyone else’s starters (although I wanted to) but they looked really appetising, and my friends really enjoyed them. I requested that my sea bass be spicy, and it was spiced to a decent level. It was roasted to perfection, and the skin was crisp and tasty. The dish was delicious, and light. Shiima’s baby chicken was much better than we expected it to be, the salmoriglio sauce was fantastic with the succulent and charred chicken. I had a lamb cutlet from a friend, and it was awesome. It was ordered medium rare, which isn’t my style, but that didn’t matter. It was soft and very well seasoned with a slight kick. Everyone seemed to really enjoy his or her dish, and just like the starters the dishes were presented beautifully. So much so that I really wanted to taste every dish, but by the time I got around to asking (yes, I asked), everyone had finished his or her dish.

We were given the dessert menu, but none of us were keen. We were looking forward to going down to the lounge bar, but just then I was surprised with a milk valrhona chocolate fondant with ice cream, topped with a sparkler and with “Happy 30th Birthday, Amen” piped around the plate. It was a really beautiful gesture, which made me enjoy the dessert even more, but honestly I really can’t remember much of the taste, just that it was really good.

My experience in Novikov Italian was wonderful, I admit the experience is skewed by the occasion, but I, and everyone else, really enjoyed the food. My friends enjoyed the wine as well. The vibe was also really good, not exactly vibrant but chilled. I’d recommend for families, special occasions, dates, and big groups. Also, I know I said I prefer friendlier service, but the service is also really good. I don’t have an exact assessment of the price, cos my friends kindly paid the bill – it was their treat, love you guys 🙂 – but going by the price on the menu, Novikov Italian is expensive, but it is Novikov. We spent about an hour in the lounge bar, and that was also a lot of fun. It was packed with eclectic people, enjoying the live cover band, drinks, and food (they have a full food menu for the lounge bar).

Dress Code: Smart Casual
Cuisine: Italian
Amen’s Star Dish: Lamb Cutlet
Shiima’s Star Dish: Baby Calamari
Price: £45-50 each (excluding alcohol)
Rating: 4.8 out of 5


Novikov Italian
http://www.novikovrestaurant.co.uk/novikov-italian/
50A Berkeley Street
Mayfair, London, W1J 8HA
Call 02073994330, or
Book at OpenTable

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