When a slice of London’s Mayfair dining scene lands in Dubai, it’s going to attract attention, which Asian restaurant Novikov does for all the right reasons.
Plush, slick and sophisticated. Words that only touch on how impressive the venue is. It’s set out in two sections, catering for smokers by the bar with low tables and casual couch-style seats and a non-smoking section towards the back of the sprawling space, set up like a classic dining room.
The dim lighting, warm orange and oak tones accentuated by red cushions and purple backlit walls make a classy statement, while the cool lounge beats played by the DJ all afternoon sets a relaxed and chilled-out vibe for the next four hours, which are some of the most glorious we’ve spent in Dubai.
Once seated, waiters explain how the brunch works. Part buffet, part à la carte, it comes as three packages – soft drinks, which also includes “detoxer” organic juices made fresh
at the bar, house beverages and bubbly.
Fresh is the byword for this brunch. At the buffet station, chefs grill chicken, beef, asparagus and prawn skewers coated in a sweet, sticky sauce, replenishing the grill once we fill our plates. At the dim sum counter, three types of glutinous dumpling parcels steamed to order and delivered to our table. Whole vegetables are stacked market-style so we can pick the ingredients we want in our salad or to accompany the fish and seafood catches that are also grilled to request. Freshly prepared sushi can also be enjoyed in unlimited amounts. So far, so impressive.
The beef skewers stand out for us, the meat clearly a high quality cut, tender and perfectly cooked. We make the mistake of filling up on this section, going back for seconds of those skewers and the dim sum early on, unprepared for just how good the appetisers and mains would be.
Each person gets to pick one starter, one main course and one side from a list of delightful-sounding dishes. We found it difficult to choose, and after much discussion and what seems like a military operation, we settle on the beef tacos and breakfast sandwich to start, black cod and French baby chicken for mains and bok choy and egg fried rice as sides.
Everything about the breakfast sandwich is homely and delicious. The freshly-baked English muffin comes topped with a perfectly fried, sunny side up egg, avocado, tomato, lettuce, air-dried wagyu beef and chipotle mayonnaise. The beef tacos are another delight. A squeeze of lime over the crispy shells filled with some of the most deliciously seasoned meat we’ve tried, adds a whole new flavour dimension to our starters.
And it gets better. The black cod with yuzu miso sauce on the side is simply stunning and on the baby chicken, the kimchi miso lifts the taste, giving the succulent meat a sweet and sour flavour. The bok choy is light and refreshing, while the rice is neither stodgy nor oily.
Three courses down, we’re wholly satisfied by the food on offer and staff are there throughout to ensure we’re enjoying, topping up empty glasses and offering to mix up something unusual should it take our fancy.
By dessert, we’re struggling to find room, but on seeing the waffles being grilled and plated up with fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, red currents, a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and a dollop of homemade chocolate hazelnut sauce, we’re powerless to resist. With a drizzle of warm caramel and chocolate sauce added to ours, it’s a sweet ending to one of the sweetest brunch offerings in town.
The Bottom Line
One of the freshest brunches in town that simply needs to be experienced.
Dhs370 (pei mei – soft drinks), Dhs490 (Gugo Yubara – house beverages), Dhs545 (O-Ren Ishii – bubbly). Noon-4pm. Sheraton Grand, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 388 8744).