Novikov versus Nobu: Asian Taste Wars in London vol 2
I have to admit that I had reservations when it comes to eating Asian at a place owned by anyone but Asian origins. I thought such a place could be super stylish but the food would never beat an authentic Chinese or Japanese. That is why I neglected Novikov, Asian restaurant operated by a Russian company for quite a while. But one day, I was running past Novikov and simply thought why not.
Confession: The food is very good…Better than I could have ever thought…I am impressed by the variety of their lunch menu. Dim sum is my favourite Asian dish by far and if it is good I can eat limitless. Novikov’s dim sum menu is really impressive. One of the best in London. I ate 12 pieces in total that day. All delicious and were cooked just perfect. Not over fried, not overboiled, not too oily and not too crisp. Just perfect. Mouthful, very satisfying and all from fresh ingredients. Loved it. Their wine list is also impressive (maybe more on the expensive side).
I am not ashamed to confess I could have not been more wrong. Novikov matched Nobu in terms of food. A very good alternative to any upscale Asian restaurant. And service was very friendly and attentive. Everyone with big smiles. BUT and a big BUT is…They serve Asian next to Italian and under same roof. Some find it practical but I don’t unfortunately. I am more traditional in this sense. To me, specialization is actually special. I just think the other way round steals from the authenticity. Don’t get me wrong the overall ambience is quiet nice. Luxuriously decorated. It is just the feeling that I cannot shake off. having said that, Novikov is still a very good choice for a business lunch or dinner before you get drinks somewhere else. The bar is not as impressive as the food. But if you want to have both under same roof: Great food and somewhere you can hang out at the bar. Then my preference would be going to Nobu. The one at Berkeley.
A gorgeous bar setting. Nobu does it well.
And in London, you never can go with Asian. Almost.