Novikov review – is the new Dubai restaurant worthy of the hype?
There’s been huge fanfare for the Russian-owned, Asian cuisine restaurant. We went to find out if it’s deserving of the noise.Robert Chilton October 11, 2015
If you like cars, we suggest you book a table at Novikov because you’re likely to see several extremely beautiful and expensive ones lined up outside this hot new restaurant.
Fresh from Mayfair in London where it’s been doing a roaring trade since it opened in 2011, Novikov has arrived in Dubai. The restau- rant looks like a massive wooden salad bowl. The ceilings are high, the lighting is low and the welcome is warm. Before you take your table, stroll past the open kitchen, fronted by huge beds of ice filled with vegetables and seafood, while hanging behind are rows of crispy Chinese ducks.
The reputation of Novikov in London is a restaurant famed for its starry, beautiful, monied clientele, which means you might be intimidated when you walk into its Dubai offshoot. But do not fear, brave diner, Novikov Dubai is a much more informal affair. Don’t wear flip flops obviously, but the DJ in the rafters playing chilled dance music and the chatty staff put you right at ease.
The menu is long and filled with light, aromatic Asian dishes. Typical is a crab and avocado salad (AED 95) which was dotted with cucumber that had been diced so finely we shudder to think how sharp the knife must have been. Four simple slivers of yellowtail sashimi (AED 85) were topped with a circle of red chilli – again finely sliced – and a coriander sprig. Both dishes contained clean, explosive flavours. Look out also for the spicy prawn money bag dim sum: the best name for a dish we’ve heard in a while (AED 40). Delicate sacks containing chunks of juicy prawn were tied at the top with a chive.
Among the main course highlights was a piece of sea bass (AED 110) that had been steamed to perfection and partnered with a soy and ginger dressing. The Singapore noodles with prawns were moreishly smoky, while the build-your-own Peking duck (AED 115) consisted of strips of cucumber, spring onion, pancakes and a dish of hoi sin sauce that came with a plate of eight square pieces of duck that had been arranged so neatly we suspect the chef had used a geometry set.
To finish, don’t leave without trying the vanilla yoghurt baked cheesecake (AED 70). The crunchy base had a slightly salty twang, which stood up beautifully to the sour yoghurt topping.
It’s an inventive menu packed with the delicate and the bold. You’ll leave Novikov pretty happy – especially with the car show on display outside.
Details: Sheraton Grand, Sheikh Zayed Road. Visit novikov-dubai.com