Jen is a foodie at heart. We have travelled quite a few places together and I can always count on her to take us to the best restaurants. Well, our visit to NOPI did not disappoint and my delight at the amazing cuisine wasn’t surprising!
We are both fans of Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli chef known for his incredible cookbooks, some of which specialize in vegetarian fare. Most of his dishes also have a Middle-Eastern influence, so expect flavourful pairings of spices, textures and colours. His cooking is influenced by Syrian, Turkish, Lebanese, Armenian, Iranian and Israeli traditional dishes with a Western flare.
Mr. Ottolenghi is a huge advocate of vegetarian cooking, while still loving meat dishes (we had some amazing venison at NOPI). He is known for his wonderful quote that resonated with me: “It does no favour to vegetarians, making vegetables second best. Meat should be a celebration, not everyday. There is so much else out there”. Indeed there is.
Located in the heart of London, NOPI is beautifully decorated (a theme I’ve noticed with almost every British restaurant we visited). It is bright and airy, heavily decorated with marble, brass accents, bouquets of happy fuchsia and white chrysanthemums throughout, and again, a showstopper of a bathroom! Is this some sort of trend I’m now discovering??
Let’s get to the good part though – the food. I have never, ever had food like this. The blend of Middle-Eastern flavours blew my mind. Roasted coriander seeds topped the creamiest burrata I’ve had this side of Italy. The beetroot and goat’s curd salad was both delicate, yet full of flavour at the same time. The onglet was cooked perfectly – rare, tender and delicious and exploding with flavour thanks to the barley miso and shitake ketchup!!! Yotam Ottolenghi is brilliant. My tastebuds had died and gone to heaven. Oh – and let’s not forget the cocktails. My Pineapple Sage Cocktail was so delicious and fragrantly perfumed with sage, I felt like dabbing it behind my ears. So good, I had two. Jen ordered the Ginseng and Grapefruit Cocktail which was a gorgeous mix of Kamm & Sons British Aperitif, Campari, grapefruit, verjus and Boker’s Bitters. Wow. It was delicious, very refreshing and the most pleasing coral colour! I wish I was talented and adventurous enough to dream up these cocktails myself!
Here are some shots of the restaurant and dishes we were “blessed” to have:
Have any of you had a chance to try out this restaurant? Any vegetarian dishes you love and care to share? What is the most beautiful restaurant bathroom you’ve seen? Hahaha!!