Newcomer on Oman’s F&B Scene: Exclusive Interview with Executive Chef Marco Lubian on Novikov Café Muscat

Roundup Wednesday 29/May/2024 17:43 PM
By: Times News Service
Newcomer on Oman’s F&B Scene: Exclusive Interview with Executive Chef Marco Lubian on Novikov Café Muscat

The much-awaited international brand, Novikov Café, has finally opened in Muscat on June 1, bringing with it its unique concept inspired by traditional Mediterranean cuisine as well as Asian culinary traditions. Defined by its sophisticated ambience, simplicity of dishes and high-quality ingredients, Novikov Café is set to redefine Oman’s F&B scene with its unique fine-dining approach. The concept, first developed in Dubai, has found tremendous success, with award-winning signature dishes creating loyal customers worldwide. In Oman, Novikov Café Muscat anticipates similar success as it becomes the new dining destination in the capital. Times of Oman sits down with Executive Chef Marco Lubian for an interview on the opening of this chic restaurant at the heart of Muscat:

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind Novikov Café’s culinary concept and how it translates into the menu at the St. Regis?

We’re inspired by the atmosphere of a French-style brasserie, aiming to create a lively yet welcoming ambience. Our open kitchen lets diners see the freshness and quality of our ingredients firsthand. We focus on providing a top-notch dining experience, combining Mediterranean and Asian influences, and using fantastic local ingredients to create modern, uncomplicated dishes. Our concept is truly unique, and we bring with us years of experience to create the most authentic menu to match.

Given Novikov Café's focus on fresh, local ingredients, do you plan to source and work with Omani products? Can you share an example of a dish you'd create using local ingredients?

Creating the menu for Novikov Café Muscat has been a rewarding experience. We’ve put together Mediterranean dishes highlighting Oman’s culinary diversity with a touch of Asian flair. The variety of local seafood and high-quality produce here is amazing. Take our grilled prawn starter, for example. Served with a flavourful blend of chilli, garlic, basil butter, and a touch of lemon, this dish features Omani prawns, showcasing the exceptional quality of locally available seafood. It's a perfect representation of a dining experience that is both sophisticated and delicious.

The St. Regis brand is known for luxury experiences. How will you incorporate this concept into the dining experience at Novikov Café Muscat?

Being at the brand-new St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort, we effortlessly blend Novikov Café's sophisticated ambience with the elegant style of this premier location. The luxurious setting of the St. Regis adds to our guest dining experience, reflecting the richness of local culture and providing a stunning backdrop for our Mediterranean and Asian-inspired dishes. It’s a stunning hotel that really stands out in Oman’s hospitality landscape, and we are proud to be part of their journey in Oman.

Tell us how your life experiences have shaped you as a chef.

My culinary journey started in London, where I arrived with just 700 euros and a one-way ticket. I began as a commis chef at Novikov and quickly moved up the ranks through hard work and a passion for learning. After mastering the basics, I took charge of the pasta section—the busiest and most exciting part of Novikov London’s kitchen. My culinary adventures then took me to the Caribbean, where I helped open Quattro Passi in Barbados, launched by Michelin-starred Chef Antonio Mellino. Returning to Novikov, I became an Executive Chef with the Novikov International team, leading operations in Bodrum and Jeddah. Now, I am proud to open Novikov Café Muscat at the St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort.

Apart from Mediterranean cuisine, which is your forte, what other cuisine do you find yourself gravitating towards when you dine out?

I love travelling, and my trips have introduced me to new flavours and cooking methods. A bike ride from London to Italy and a backpacking trip across Southeast Asia were eye-opening experiences that made me re-discover and appreciate the simplicity and quality of ingredients in Mediterranean food. These travels sparked a newfound love for the vibrant flavours of Asian dishes, which is why I enjoy working for Novikov Café—it merges my love for Mediterranean food with Asian influences.

What are the top three dishes you would recommend to guests looking forward to dining at Novikov Café?

Picking just three is tough, but for a taste of our menu, I’d recommend starting with our signature Burrata, followed by the Lobster Linguine, and a nice grilled octopus with roast potatoes for the main course. To end on a high note, try our fresh and delicious Amalfi Lemon , among other stunning desserts on our menu. We are open every day from breakfast to dinner, with a wide selection of dishes all made meticulously, focusing on simple yet powerful taste. Whether you’re planning an intimate dinner or a celebration, or you have a spontaneous craving for great food, Novikov Café is your new address.

What’s your added plus?

Our view. We have a stunning location inside the St Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort, with a terrace offering panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and the Resort’s stunning infinite pool. Every detail of Novikov Café's interior design is carefully chosen to create a sophisticated and welcoming ambience, complementing our fine-dining menu. From the blend of textures and vibrant patterns to the carefully selected furnishings, guests will be surrounded by an atmosphere that exudes elegance and charm. Your new dining experience awaits! Positioned as the premier destination for Mediterranean fine dining in Oman, Novikov Café will enter a growing market amidst a surge in luxury hotel and resort developments along the Sultanate's shores. In 2023, Oman welcomed nearly 4 million visitors, with Europe and Russia serving as key inbound markets. The emergence of luxury accommodations like The St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort perfectly supports Novikov Café's expansion and ethos of delivering unparalleled culinary experiences.

Reservations can be made via phone at +968 2271 1111. To keep up to date with the latest offers & news from Novikov Café, follow their Muscat Instagram page: