An Asian restaurant with a Russian name certainly sounded a bit dubious to start. But after my first visit, I must say that Novikov Asian has made it to one of the top spots on my list of best halal-friendly Asian restaurants in London. Located in the heart of Mayfair at Berkeley Square, this snazzy fine-dining restaurant has impressed us with its exquisite attention to detail and halal-friendly food offerings. It may have been a pricey meal, but it was well worth it for a special occasion.
Novikov London is split into two sections – one for the Asian restaurant, the other for Italian. The Asian side of the restaurant follows an oriental vibe complemented by a dark wooden theme; whereas the Italian side, from what managed to peek through, featured a palatial & extravagant white interior. Whilst Novikov is very clearly all about high-end fine dining, which is well reflected in its price tag, the Asian side of the restaurant tries to keep it more of a smart casual and laidback ambience. The centrepiece of Novikov Asian is no doubt its display of seafood & Cantonese roast meats, which is a nod to Asian food markets, done in a sophisticated way, and adds to its vibrantly buzzy atmosphere.
Novikov London Mayfair: Halal-friendly Contemporary Fusion Pan-Asian Food
We ended up visiting Novikov Asian twice and this review combines both experiences. For both times, as soon as we sat down, we were served some complimentary assorted healthy nibbles, such as celery sticks, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. alongside a house salad sauce. It also came with a shot glass of cranberry juice mix, which was tangy and refreshing to set the impression as we check out their menu.
The menu at Novikov Asian mostly leans towards Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Those two cuisines form the foundation and the magic happens when a variety of fusion Pan-Asian flavours are incorporated together. On the menu, you can find a selection of dim sums and sushi, as well as robata/teppanyaki, wok dishes, or traditional classics such as Peking Duck. If you like seafood, there’s a whole fish market section as well.
Halal items are clearly marked on the menu at Novikov Asian. Alcohol is served at the restaurant
The Food at Novikov Asian (what we ordered)
Date of visit: December 2018 & April 2019
- Truffle Siu Mai
- Thai Chicken Soup Dumplings
- Prawn Moneybags
- Duck Rolls
- Chilean Wagyu Fillet Steak (180g)
- Lamb Chops
- Razor Clams Rice Hot Pot
- Molten Chocolate Fondant
Truffle Siu Mai
When I think about Siu Mais, I think of street food & loud Cantonese dim sum restaurants instead of fine dining. As such, we had our doubts about ordering it but this ought to be one of the best food decisions we’ve ever made. Never in my life have I ever thought I would use the word “juicy” to describe a Siu Mai. But these were exactly that. Each Siu Mai was also elegantly topped with a slice of truffle, which added an immense amount of fragrance and complimented extremely well with the chicken Siu Mai. For me, these have really set a new bar for how Siu Mai should be.
Thai Chicken Soup Dumplings
Initially, I thought the soup part stops at the soup within those serving spoons where the dumplings nest. But it was a lot more than that. Essentially like Xiao Long Baos, each of these dumplings was also bursting with soup inside the filling. I absolutely adored the Thai fusion in this dim sum, where the lemongrass fragrance simply takes over your senses as the soup gushes through at each bite. Everything from flavour to execution just worked flawlessly here and, dare I say, quite the epitome of a fusion pan-Asian concept!
Moneybags are basically dumplings that are shaped into a money bag, like a little purse storing gold and silver back in ancient China. It’s a classic dim sum and it’s meant to carry an auspicious symbolism of bringing in money and wealth. Just like the high standards set by the dim sums above, these moneybag dumplings were gorgeously made as well. The dough was made just right – not too thin nor too chewy. My favourite part was the piquant touch of spice in the filling which really added oomph and opened up the palate.
Crispy on the outside and packed with flavours on the inside, these duck rolls were an absolutely moreish treat. It’s fully packed with a generous amount of stuffing in there and bursting with flavours at each bite. It came with a side of hoisin sauce, which complemented well with the duck. Whilst I wouldn’t say they are like superstars like the other dim sums mentioned above, it’s still undoubtedly a good one.
Chilean Wagyu Fillet (180g)
The lusciously buttery sensation & umami flavour of this Chilean Wagyu Fillet Steak was impossible to not swoon over. 180g may not seem a lot but, since the wagyu tasted so rich, it was actually just the right portion to share between the two of us along with other dishes we ordered. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium and showcased a gorgeous pink tint on the inside. It’s so tender in texture and practically melts in your mouth. A side of ponzu sauce and a wedge of lime were served together with it, which added a little tang to perk up the flavours even more.
Enticing is the word for that beautiful glossy glaze over these lamb chops. That glaze brought an addictive hint of sweetness that complemented well with the lamb together with the small pinch of chilli. It’s the kind of flavour combo that leaves you to keep wanting more. Though I must say, after the amazing dim sums and wagyu, we felt the lamb chops were comparatively underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good, but just wasn’t a “wow” dish.
Razor Clams Rice Hot Pot
We weren’t entirely sure what to expect for this one, but this Razor Clams Rice Hot Pot had been an exceptionally mesmerising treat. The hot pot was still bubbling upon serving and it’s essentially a saucy pot of rice with razor clams as toppings. I was extra excited about the razor clams because I’ve always loved them growing up and they aren’t the most common seafood in the UK. Screaming of top-notch fresh quality and bursting with savoury flavours, these razor clams were stupendously good. They were cooked just right with the perfect texture and not a single hint of rubberiness. The taste of the sea was fully soaked into the saucy rice and featured an impeccable richness of flavour. It was cooked to a slightly creamy texture that somewhat resembled a risotto. All in all, this dish was one absolute stunner that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Molten Chocolate Fondant
Last but not least, desserts! A few desserts stood out from the menu but both times I ended up with the molten chocolate fondant. The presentation was simple but the flavours were just stellar. That lava effect with the richest gooey chocolate oozing out never fails to have me head over heels. The chocolate was rich to taste with the perfect balance of sweetness in it. It comes served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, offering a sensational contrast of hot & cold when eaten together with the warm fondant. It’s a well-executed classic dessert that’s guaranteed to be a winner.
Restaurant Review Summary
I loved it the first time, and I still absolutely loved it the second time around. Novikov Asian has been an absolute delight to visit and the food was no short of extraordinary. The restaurant constantly surprises me with how they managed to elevate simple dishes into such exquisite flavours. In my opinion, it probably comes down to the quality of ingredients, flawless execution, and a sprinkle of genius brains for those innovative fusion flavours. If you can’t already tell, I was most impressed with the dim sums. It had been an ecstatic experience to savour a fusion and sophisticated take on some traditional dishes I grew up with. They’ve certainly done an impressive job and I loved every bite with every dish we ordered at Novikov Asian.
Partially halal. All halal items are clearly marked on the menu.
Nearest station: Green Park