Open daily from midday, serving lunch and dinner
By now we’re all familiar with Arkady Novikov’s name: Moscow’s ‘blini baron’ and friend of Vladimir Putin. In November 2011, he opened his eponymous restaurant in Mayfair to much critical derision which did little to curb the monied crowd’s enthusiasm – Rihanna, Bar Rafaeli, Prince Harry are just a few who have been papped stepping out of its doors.
Novikov’s second London restaurant Brompton Asian Brasserie (swish address – tick; pan-Asian menu – tick; mid-market brasserie – now here’s something different) is a more low-key affair. Chinese red lanterns, Japanese-style wood panelling and some bamboo shoots suggest a Asian theme and, combined with the brasserie-style white tiles and low-hung lights, give it a bland, nondescript look. Thank goodness then for its open kitchen and lively staff. And of course, its South Ken location makes it the perfect people watching spot – there was the rowing couple; the woman wearing a huge floppy hat and the family with their freakily well-behaved kidults.
The menu is split into sections: small dishes, grill, wok, tempura, sushi. There’s also a daily specials board and a display of fresh produce including lobsters, crabs, fish and seasonal veg. We did and we didn’t take our waiter Lee’s advice. Tofu parcels with red curry and crispy shallots (£8) and pork and prawn siu mai with truffle (£7.50; not recommended) were both excellent. Roasted scallops with sweet braised suckling pig and hot and sour sauce (£10.50) had ‘excellent pork crackling.’ Crispy black cod rolls with mango sauce (£12) were ‘heavy’ as we were warned but were consumed with murmurs of satisfaction. The kamchatka king crab leg with wasabi mayonnaise (market price) was indeed salty as our waiter had warned, but, ‘Wow – this is so good. If you like salty things, then this is good,’ my friend said. Other veggie dishes were met with Lee’s approval: grilled asparagus with wafu dressing and sesame (£7.50) and vegetable stir fried rice (£6.50). We decided against the light fruity recommendation and went for an indulgent milk chocolate fondant with hazelnut praline and vanilla ice-cream (£10.50).
The food is good, the prices South Ken-reasonable (our bottle of South African Stellenrust chenin blanc, Stellenbosch, second priciest white at £34, was excellent) and it’s a place I’d return to. The only hitch is that, as a robata grill fan, I couldn’t help comparing it to another certain nearby Asian restaurant which has a bit more glamour and buzz. Perhaps things will change when Rihanna pops by…