This Uzbek restaurant, a veteran of the Moscow restaurant scene, has a pleasantly exotic interior of carved stone arches and ornate ceilings, reminiscent of a Bukhara palace, which transports you immediately to Tashkent.
The décor consists of silk draperies, rugs and cushions of rich colours, with huge lanterns hanging from the ceiling making this a snug and warm place in winter (although there’s also an outdoor terrace for summer dining).
As one would expect from yet another Novikov establishment, the food is delicious, with indigenous chefs preparing the finest Uzbek recipes. Have some of the sensational plov (a sort of pilaf) and settle in with a hookah pipe.
The welcoming and courteous staff, dressed in native costumes, add to the ‘authenticity’ of this luxurious Central Asian delight, together with live music and bellydancing – worryingly described as ‘fiery stomach dancing’ – which entertain as the evening progresses.
On Monday nights at 8.30pm there is rooster fighting, a traditional Uzbek pastime. Next door, White Sun of the Desert has similar fare but is less formal and somewhat cheaper.