NOPI by Ottolenghi, West End – London

If it weren’t for the fact that my big sister S. is a fabulous cook, I probably never would have heard of Ottolenghi. As it is, it already took me a while to realise that Otto was not actually his first name…

In any case, Yotam Ottoloenghi is an Israeli chef with a Palestinian business partner. His cuisine is heavily influenced by the Middle East – but with a twist that’s hard to put your finger on. He has a number of restaurants scattered across London, including NOPI in Warwick Street, just off Regent Street in London’s West End.

I’m in England this week for my graduation. In January I will then be starting on my PhD. One way or another, this seemed like a good enough excuse to make a reservation for dinner at NOPI to celebrate.

The restaurant is divided in a ground floor and basement. On the ground floor level there are tables for two or four persons. While downstairs there are just two large tables, each of which can seat up to twelve people.

We are a group of three and order the following:

  • Sea bream with ras al-hanout cauliflower, celeriac and almonds (starter):
  • Roasted aubergine, black garlic, urfa chili, broad beans and pine nuts (starter):
  • Chickpea pancake, spiced peas, tomato, pickled chili and yuzu (main):
  • Whole plaice with burned butter, nori and ginger (main):
  • Bitter leaves, citrus, green chili, yuzu kosho (side):
  • Truffle polenta chips, parmesan and aioli (side):
  • Chocolate ganache with plum soil and cream (dessert):
  • The meal is really very good. In as much, that’s not so much of an achievement – because there are plenty of good restaurants to choose form in London these days. What makes NOPI stand out though, in my opinion, is the unusual combination of ingredients and flavours that are mixed together to create some truly exceptional dishes.

    If you have the chance and the foresight to make a booking well in advance, try to visit NOPI next time you’re in London. It’s definitely worth it!

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