Review: NOVI

Street food company, Steak and Honour, comes to NOVI for 3 months from this week

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If you want proper burgers, chips served in a polystyrene cup and stylish cocktails all in one place (which I know I do) then head to NOVI.

A few doors along from spoons, this chic establishment serves coffee during the day and becomes a cocktail bar and kitchen at night.

A v serious looking coffee machine

The urban styling is reminiscent of several bars in London (according to Phoebe, she is from London so she would know), as a large room with minimalist décor. Beware of the cute little three legged stools, they are quite precarious. I only fell on the floor once though, and my cocktail was fine, so no harm done.

The bustling ground floor

As of Wednesday, Steak and Honour, a street food company run by two chefs who normally sell their high quality burgers from Citroen H vans around Cambridge, are serving their food at NOVI every Wednesday-Saturday for the next 3 months. NOVI’s kitchen changes hands regularly, and this change brings with it a completely new menu. We were told that this is so customers can have a fresh experience with each visit.

Burgers in the making

The current menu is a winner. The street food vibe is transported inside; you order directly from the chefs at a counter leading to the kitchen and they call you over to collect your food when it’s ready, but all in a warm room lit by low hanging glass orbs and tea lights.

‘Food pls’

The burgers are very tasty and succulent, and quite messy – you have to be prepared to use lots of napkins (the chef made sure we had a stack when we got our food). There are quite a lot of options to choose from – I went for the ‘Some Like It Hot’ burger with jalapeños and hot sauce and Phoebe ordered a ‘Check The Pulse’ veggie burger.

‘Not an ideal place to go on a first date’ – Phoebe Jayes

The arrival of Steak and Honour at NOVI coincides with a change to the cocktail menu – apparently we were the first to try them except for staff. Classed as ‘herb’, ‘fruit’, ‘spice’ or ‘bean’, the cocktails are carefully designed using well-matched, seasonal flavours. These are a bit pricey at £8 but perfect for a special occasion. My ‘Sloe Down’ and Phoebe’s ‘Ruby Tuesday’ both went down very well.


Two floors up, there is another cocktail bar which is designed to have a more chilled atmosphere. This opens Wednesday-Saturday with table service rather than the bar service downstairs. Unconventionally, NOVI encourages that you book a table in advance to get a drink here, to guarantee space for everyone. This part of NOVI stays open until three in the morning (the downstairs bar is open until midnight on weekdays and 1am at weekends), so you can book a table for 2am and head there when other bars have already shut.

Shelves of alcohol

NOVI is also available for hire for private parties, although this tends to be on days when the cocktail bar would otherwise be closed.

‘It is the anti-Kuda’ – Phoebe Jayes

I very much enjoyed my trip to NOVI. Oh, and I should recommend the dessert which we mainly ordered to find out what it was – it was just described as ‘Something Sweet’ – but turned out to be one of the highlights of the meal.

That’s all I’m going to say about it.