Types of venues , Restaurants and cafés ,
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Mon Dec 19 2011
Restaurateur Arkady Novikov could be thought of as Moscow’s answer to Terence Conran or Alan Yau, but with the muscle of Vladimir Putin. He has more than 50 restaurants to his name, ranging from some of Moscow’s blingest venues (the opulent GQ Bar, the fashionable Vogue Café) to shares in popular buffet chain Yolki-Palki. Novikov is his first venue outside Russia, and it certainly fits in with the monied surrounds of Berkeley Street.
There are two types of Russian diners – those who go out to have fun and those who go to eat, and most fall into the former category. They must feel right at home here. Walking through the revolving glass doors, you’re immediately confronted by a cacophony of people lounging around the reception-cum-bar area, a riot of sharp suits, tight dresses and Champagne flutes. The Asian restaurant is on the left, the lounge bar downstairs, and the cavernous Italian restaurant straight ahead.
Arkady Novikov cites restaurants such as Zuma and Hakkasan as his favourite haunts in the city, and there are certainly noted similarities; the Asian restaurant feels like a clubbier Roka, a brighter Hakkasan. A massive open kitchen reveals dozens of chefs working furiously to fulfil orders, which is understandable when you see the menu: an oversized sheet detailing sushi and sashimi, dim sum, ‘wok dishes’, barbecued dishes, vegetable dishes, salads and rice/noodles.
We tried a selection across the board and found the food mostly enjoyable, save for a portion of plasticky gyoza dumplings filled with beef and foie gras, where the fatty liver had disintegrated into unpleasant pools of oil. We were tempted to order the most proletarian dish on the menu – fried rice with char siu pork – but went with wok-fried soft shell crab ‘Malaysian style’, flavoured with crisped-up curry leaves and salted egg yolk, and expertly chargrilled baby chicken marinated in miso.
Desserts are a treat, with green tea crème brûlée topped with a perfect crackle of caramelised sugar; the guava sorbet, an odd accompaniment for it, was also delectable.
The wine list, dominated by Italian bottles (perhaps a two-birds-with-one-stone situation, considering the sister restaurant), starts at high prices, then goes higher. There’s a considerable selection of high-octane sakés too.
There are lots of staff – one young chap’s sole responsibility appeared to be spraying the display of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood with water every five minutes. Still, the service was unusually warm for this kind of restaurant. But just like other Mayfair establishments of this ilk, you pay heavily just for the privilege of being there.
020 7399 4330
- Opening hours:
Asian restaurant 7.30am-11.30pm daily Italian restaurant 11.30am-11.30pm daily Lounge Bar 11.30am-1am daily
Tube: Green Park tube
Meal for two with wine and service: around £140
- 020 7399 4330