[Updated 6/12/11 - From tomorrow both the Asian Restaurant and Italian Restaurant at Novikov Berkeley will be open]
Novikov Berkeley is the first London venture from the Russia's hugely successful restaurateur, Arkady Novikov (who, to give an idea of his influence, is the main man in Russia's version of The Apprentice). Having made his mark on Russia, he's now set his sights on London.
The Novikov restaurant group itself runs dozens of restaurants in Moscow and a number of chains on top of that, so his arrival in the UK is a big thing, especially as it's Novikov's first venture outside of Russia. His London debut is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum with a lavish complex about to be unveiled on Berkeley Street.
The restaurant itself will be divided into three areas: two restaurants - Asian and Italian - and a lounge bar with live entertainment. There will also be private rooms available in both the Italian room and the Lounge bar.
The Head Chef in the Asian Room will be Jeff Tyler, who comes to London via the Mandarin Oriental in Marrakech. His credentials sound pretty impressive, having spent the early part of his career learning on the job in Tokyo. We were taken with the fact that he spent a month at the Shizouka tuna markets, mastering the art of whole tuna cutting.
As for the Italian room, that will be run by Stefano Steccas, who hails from the late Osteria Stecca in St John's Wood and has also worked at the Brunello in Kensington and with Giorgio Locatelli at Zafferano.
With Mari Vanna in Knightsbridge and this both about to open, we're in for a Russian Christmas.
Novikov Berkely opens December 1 on 50a Berkeley Street. 0207 399 4330.