Novikov may have its roots in Moscow (the brand was created by Russian entrepreneur Arkady Novikov in 2005) and then gone on to become a hit in London’s Mayfair too, but there’s an argument it’s found its spiritual home in Dubai, a city where it can fully embrace its stylistic decadence.
With its Asian-fusion dishes, hip décor and good service, it sits within the Sheraton Grand Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road, and, on an average day, functions as well as a bar as a restaurant, with a hip crowd tucking into top-end nibbles and mixed drinks.
From a purse point of view, though, their brunch – that runs Fridays from 12pm till 4pm – is a very smart way to get in on the action, as it is competitively priced, and comes in three variations.
First up is the Pei Mei (the name inspired by Uma Thurman’s kung fu teacher in Tarantino’s martial arts classic, Kill Bill) at Dhs310, which includes soft drinks, smoothies and detoxers. Then it’s onto the Gugo Yubara (the same movie’s mental girl with the razor-bladed balls on chains), which features house grape, hops and mixed drinks. And, appropriately climactic, is the O-Ren Ishii package (named after the Lucy Liu baddie), which, for Dhs545, includes all of the above plus a selection of signature mixed drinks and bubbly. Hopefully you’ll still have your head come the morning.
The food here is excellent, and it’s also one of those brunches that actually allows for a proper conversation, as opposed to the military-style loading up operations involved in many a buffet bonanza. Yes, you do actually have to occasionally get up in between the regular deliveries of delicious dim sum – in particular the stunning spicy prawn moneybags – knockout noodles and assorted rice dishes that are delivered to your table. But when the grub that awaits is so good, it’s hardly a chore. Around the semi-circular seafood bar that surrounds the bustling open kitchen lie an array of goodies to choose from – immaculate sushi and sashimi interspersed with awesome wagyu beef, scallops, oysters, baos and more. Factor in a fantastic dessert station (hello, cheesecake!), some cool, hipster tunes, and the sense you could be sitting right in Tarantino’s House of Blue Leaves, and it’s all a really rather lovely spot for a chilled Friday afternoon with more than a little of the A-list about it. INFO: Fri weekly, 12pm-4pm, Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Rd, Dubai, 04 388 8744, novikov-dubai.com