If it’s payday, Friday and you find yourself in Mayfair, you might feel compelled to try out one of the many swanky bars, promising juicy cocktails at the same price as your weekly food shop.
You might even, after a quick google, decide to check out ‘Novikov’. The Asian/Italian bar gets a good rating. It also has an exclusive, VIP-club feel to it and, on stepping inside, has you guessing if you’re standing next to a celebrity.
Actually, people-watching proved as a great time killer as we were shepherded between stressed staff who gave off the impression that they would rather be talking to more ‘important’ guests.
Once we were ushered downstairs to the bar and finally seated, we were handed menus. Surrounding us were groups of girls snacking on Asian delicacies and sipping what can only be described as mysterious potions of sorts. Smoke was coming off some, others were presented on trays with various tubes, others with great embellishments springing from them. If Novikov’s cocktails could speak, we’re pretty sure they’d be telling us that they’re “really, really, ridiculously good looking”.
Unlike the door staff, our table waiter couldn’t have been nicer. We began the night by trying their take on an espresso martini (which, we were informed, can be served hot or cold). It came in a cafetiere, and yes, smoke was involved. Did it taste as good as it looked? Indeed it did. We moved on to a fruity cocktail served in a Geisha glass which, judging by the number of girls taking selfies with matching vessels, appeared to be their most popular. Drinks definitely had the wow-factor, their lighter champagne cocktails were equally as show stopping.
All cocktails were am-azing and if you’re going to spend £14 on a cocktail, Novikov is by no means a bad option.
We also ordered some bar food. Their Asian inspired menu all looked and smelled delicious, and after much umm-ing and ahh-ing we settled for salmon sushi, prawn tempura and shitake dumplings. For £17 the prawn tempura was nothing special, and the salmon sushi, whilst good, wasn’t the best we’ve tried. At only £5 a pop, their shitake dumplings were by far the most reasonably priced bar snack and easily the most flavoursome.
We arrived at the bar at around 7pm, and stayed until late. As the night progresses the bar ventures into club-territory. Are there lots of posers standing at the bar begging to be seen? Yes. Does this add to the Mayfair experience? Absolutely. Novikov is the sort of place you want to experience, even just for the novelty factor.
Great for a special occasion and, if you are lucky enough to dodge the judgemental front of house staff, it’s worth skipping the food and enjoying a cocktail or two in the cosy bar downstairs.
People watching: 10/10