There is a subtle art to a good business lunch. The delicate balancing act of offering three-course options of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, pricing it right, and making sure the diner can be in-and-out in under an hour, so people can get back to the office. Novikov ticks all three, with aplomb.
Despite it’s huge success in London and busy reservations book in the evenings, the Dubai branch of Novikov is relatively untapped by lunch clientele.
It’s true that its location at the Sheraton Grand on Sheikh Zayed Road, means that it doesn’t spring to mind as the most accessible place for office workers based in DIFC or Downtown (let alone Dubai Marina, Tecom etc.), but the truth is that it really isn’t as far away as you think. For those willing to make the relatively painless (5-10 minute) commute, the reward is worth it.
The huge restaurant dominates the entire second floor, with high ceilings, dark woods and a scattering of tables and booths (the latter make up the smoking section) bathed in natural light. While the restaurant has a full, open seafood kitchen available, the lunchtime crowd are wise to opt for the Shinkansen Business Lunch menu. For those needing a more private option (what business are you involved in, and how can we get involved?!) then there is a private dining room situated on its own Mezzanine floor.
The first thing to clear up is, despite its name, Novikov serves Asian cuisine. Its business lunch costs Dhs125, but comes with a soup (Tom Yum or Miso), two starters and main.
We always find that the best way to impress clients is to order a range of things for the table and let people pick from that. What is reassuring is that practically everything on the 18-dish menu is impressive. The nigiri and maki selections are much more than standard fare, with some wonderfully creative interpretations, and while the scallops with black truffle and baby squid were fantastic, the hero of the round was the selection of mini tacos (salmon, peking duck and wagyu). The wagyu one alone made us consider convincing the chef to run branch out into his own food-truck business.
You would think that having only six options available for mains would be limiting, but this is where the clever Novikov business lunch strategy comes into its own. The beef fillet, crispy duck pancakes and seabass are of such a high standard that they make the rather pricey Dhs125 per person menu seem like somewhat of a bargain. If you are still hungry, or your clients are still not impressed (we doubt both), then you can order rather sizable desserts (an additional Dhs35), or perhaps take advantage of the license and have a little tipple.
Most importantly, from start to (delicious) finish, the entire meal came in at a few seconds under 58 minutes.
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Details: Novikov‘s Shinkansen Business Lunch menu available between 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm, Sunday to Thursday,