I don’t often have an evening packed of fun stuff in town, but last Wednesday that’s exactly what happened. First I had the pleasure of an aperitif Novikov, a multi-venue recently opened in Mayfair. Despite the Russian name, there is an Italian restaurant on site, a modern Asian restaurant and in the basement, an über cool lounge bar with Italian inspired Aperitivo menu. This is where I headed, in high heels (challenging) to meet up with other food bloggers.
Over my very first Aperol Spritz (yes, true, I am old fashioned and usually have my Aperol in an Apertass), we enjoyed a constant flow of small bites, which in Italy are traditionally served with aperitivo. Novikov does the same and on top of the small dishes, we also shared some larger platters with truffle bruschetta, mini vitel tonne’, mortadella and olives and wooden boards of various cold cuts (spicy salame, sopressata, ham) and cheeses (from Parmesan to pecorino to goat cheese).
The bread basket included Sardinian crispy bread (pane carasau which can often (outside of the stunning island) be served bland and soft. Here it was served just the right way, so well done to the chef for keeping in line with the original.
The lounge bar was not too busy when we visited but I imagine it gets really packed at weekends and later in the evenings. The music was not loud and it was easy to talk to my fellow bloggers. It’s a dark space, so not ideal for photographs (as you can tell) but it’s got a fairly intimate feel having smaller room to the side which look like someone’s living room with sofas, large chairs and bookcase-like walls. A vintage British James Bond poster caught my eye at the entrance too. The manager has taste, obviously.
I left the girls and the aperitifs behind and joined @bmcboy for dinner at Roux Parliament Square. Since we’re out, dressed up and left pooch at home alone, might as well kill two birds with one stone in one evening!
I had decided to try Roux Parliament Square after watching head chef Steve Groves on the recent Celebrity Masterchef . I liked him (as one likes someone from a TV programme) and felt like trying his food which looked pretty interesting. We certainly were not disappointed, each dish tasting as good as it looked.
The amuse-bouche were pure delighjt. My mushroom consomme with truffle foam and parmesan cookie looked like a small cappuccino; @bmcboy’s a butternut squash and granola veloute, promptly replaced when we alerted the super efficient (Italian) sommelier that @bmcboy can’t eat mushrooms.
We both picked Crab raviolo as starter, with a reduced lobster bisque: intense flavours, great pasta dough. I went for the Hogget for main, as the chef’s wife had recommended to go for the lamb dish via Twitter. Braised shoulder, roasted belly and grilled chop, hogget three ways was beautifully assembled on the plate and delivered strong, autumnal hues. @bmcboy equally loved his fillet.
Too full for desserts, we still managed to eat the petit fours of course, my favourite being a fresh fig financier.
I really liked Steve’s food and while not cheap, it is obviously food of high standards. What I felt not in tune with such well created and designed food is the dining room: a little too old fashioned for me, a little too formal maybe, but I guess it’s expected in an area with a high concentration of politicians!
And with this, the evening concluded and we rushed home to play with our pooch, of course.
Sustainable? I did not ask, sadly. Yet crab is a sustainable choice, generally. Next time I shall sure ask more info.
At Novikov, I was a guest of the lovely ladies from Jori White PR.
At Roux I was a guest of my faithful credit card.