During the last couple of months my friend started collecting Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. Each time I visited her we dogeared dishes from them and prepared meals based completely on their content. The recipes aren’t simple in most cases and contain many techniques and components. It was worth it though – almost every dish we tasted from these books blew our minds. So when I had plans to visit London, I just knew I must visit one of Ottolenghi’s restaurants.
Yotam Ottolenghi, for those not familiar with the name, is an Israeli-born British chef who published some of the most amazing looking, mouthwatering, cooking books out there. He started in 2002 with two partners and a deli in Notting Hill, and since opened a few more delis and restaurants in London. Ottolenghi’s cooking style is said to be “a distinctive mix of Middle Eastern flavours – Syrian, Turkish, Lebanese, Iranian, Israeli and Armenian – with a western twist”. My favorite of his cookbooks, “Nopi” is named after his soho-based restaurant, showcasing bold and exciting Middle Eastern flavors.
There are two dining options at Nopi. “Downstairs at Nopi”, where I had the pleasure to eat in, offers communal dining overlooking the open kitchen. “Upstairs at Nopi” offers a more formal way of dining. The minute you enter the restaurant you realize how much thought was put into creating the perfect dining experience. The restaurant is simply beautiful, with a white-brass color palette and aesthetic use of marble and tiles. Don’t miss out on a visit to the toilet – you’re in for a surprise! In a good way, that is.
The menu is divided to a few sections – nibbles, mains, starters and sides, but basically all dishes are rather small and the entire menu is recommended for sharing. Since I was visiting with friends who have some food restrictions we each ordered a few dishes and only shared the desserts.
A small note on the photos in this post – I was not carrying my camera, so the all pictures were taken with my smartphone. I feel as they’re not doing justice to the dishes in Nopi, as they were all very pleasing to the eye.
Grilled Asparagus, burnt butter and pumpkin seeds (£6.2 / $8 / 32₪)
Twice-cooked baby chicken, lemon myrtle salt and chili sauce (£10.9 / $14 / 55₪) is one of Nopi’s signature dishes. Given the choice, I would always prefer any other protein over a chicken in restaurants. I would have never guessed chicken dish could be so enjoyable but this one is definitely a must. The chicken is so tender, succulent and juicy with a simple combination of flavorsome chili sauce.
Octopus, Jerusalem artichoke, spring greens and preserved lemon (£13.9 / $18 / 70₪) was recommended to us by the waiter, who by the way ignored us most of the meal and was really hard to get a hold of. Pretty expensive for the size of the dish but we savoured it.
Roasted butternut squash, red onion, tahini and za’atar (£8.9 / $12 / 45₪)
Burrata, peach, coriander seeds and plum wine (£12.9 / $17 / 65₪) another one of Nopi’s signature dishes. It is served with a changing fruit depending on the season.
There were 7 dessert options, some of which include unique and unexpected ingredients such as celery and sumac. Curiosity won us over and we ordered two of the more unusual dishes as well as the chocolate one (just to be on the safe side). The chocolate desert was unanimously the favorite out of the three with apple being the least popular.
Baked chocolate ganache, plum soil and Crème fraîche (£9 / $12 / 46₪)
Strawberry mess with Sumac and rose water (£9 / $12 / 46₪)
Apple ginger bread trifle and celery sorbet (£8.5 / $11 / 43₪)
The bill came up to a total of £92.2 and together with £11.65 service charge the meal concluded at £104.85 ($138 \ 529₪). A bit on the expensive side given the size of the dishes, but the precision and thought in tastes and concepts more than make up for it. If you’re feeling like treating yourself in London, Nopi is definitely a great option.