Novikov has been a staple diet of the London culinary scene for quite some time now, and yet as Laurence Binyon once put it, age does not weary it, nor the years condemn. It still pulls in custom from the great and the good, the glitterati and the capital’s most flamboyant movers and shakers at a frightening rate of knots. The food is exceptional, but the reason that this extraordinary status quo exists in a city which is notoriously fickle and hard to please is a testimony to Novikov’s lasting legacy and institutional status.
Arkady Novikov, the Russian founder and restaurant tycoon, was the only person to scorn the view that a premise so large would inevitably fail due to the eye watering rental price tax affixed to this ‘super prime’ Mayfair location just beneath Berkeley Square. It was deemed a certainty that a venue which could fit well over half a thousand covers was destined to the dusty echelons of the terminally deluded. However, I imagine Mr. Novikov is enjoying the last laugh since not only does the restaurant still live and breathe, but it thrives.
A whopping ten million quid was pumped into the sumptuous development of this Goliath sized venue. The Novikov umbrella includes the Italian restaurant, a slick Asian restaurant and an undeniably ‘happening’ lounge all under one roof.
Arkady Novikov himself somehow manages to stay miraculously one or two places removed from the scouring lime-light, despite the ubiquitous spell which his restaurant casts over the whole of greater London. He is known for his commitment, his grit and his uflinching work ethic.
Novikov Italian, found downstairs at 50A Berkeley Street, takes great aesthetic swathes of inspiration from the southernmost regions of that gastronomically gifted country; think Talented Mr Ripley meets a Dolce perfume advert. Large wicker baskets filled with strategically stacked oranges and lemons are dotted around the restaurant floor beneath candle-filled chandeliers. The light pine floor rings and reverberates with every language under the sun, like a cheerfully Bacchant Tower of Babel.
Given that this is a place which is synonymous with indulgence, and perhaps a dash of excess, the menu does not disappoint. The beautifully fluffy and fresh burrata is ever the hit with late night diners, dripping in Hermes and gesticulating wildly with cutlery. The Piedmont style finely sliced veal fillet with black truffle tuna sauce certainty doesn’t disappoint, and nor does the trio of smoked swordfish, eel and salmon.
Staff are exceedingly welcoming and helpful, take one moment too long scratching your chin and peering at the gloriously capacious wine menu and they’ll lean in an inch closer to offer some pithy guidance.
There’s no two ways about it, Novikov cemented itself onto the glamorous West 1 scene by doing more than just combining good decor with a sexy post code. What this restaurant produces they do exceedingly well, Novikov clearly understands its clientele though and through. Its wide ranging and extravagant menu will make it ever a hit across the wide range of regulars and special occasion diners who will come looking for a, put simply, a restaurant which provides a cut above.
50A Berkeley St, Mayfair, London W1J 8HA
020 7399 4330