upscale eating that is bold, beautifully and frankly bloody delicious.
WHERE: NOPI, 21-22 Warwick Street, W1B 5NE, London.
Tube: Piccadilly Circus.
THE DEAL: Ottolenghi’s
THE FOOD: NOPI is Ottolenghi’s delicious, upscale dining destination - kind of like the grown-up, version of his popular cafes. The feel and look is very similar to his delis; white decor, warmed up with brass fittings with individual tables on the ground floor, sharing tables and an open kitchen downstairs. This place serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner with inventive cooking inspired from the Middle East, Mediterranean and Asia. Breakfast is everything you want in terms of classics, but spiced up with some additional more interesting plates. The black rice made with coconut milk, banana, mango is a tropical rice pudding-porridgey feast. The actual “porridge” dish on the menu is also a fragrant, warming bowl made with poached quince, orange blossom, sumac and pistachio. Savoury stand-outs include the Shakshuka, the grilled Mastelo cheese with fried egg, pita bread and za’atar and the Scrambled tofu on sourdough with spicy harissa and avocado salsa. For lunch and dinner go the mainstream route with starters and mains, or explore more of the menu and pick lots of different sharing plates (careful though, portions are quite small and the bill can rack up quite quickly). Vegetarians are well-catered for; clementine cuts through creamy burrata and lavender honey. Roasted aubergine with black garlic, chili, broad beans and pine nuts is incredibly moreish and courgette fritters with cardamom yoghurt are herby, fresh and crispy. If you’re not the sharing type then mains like half chicken, lemon myrtle salt, chili sauce and char-grilled sea bass, greens and coconut are bold, well-cooked plates with high quality ingredients. Smaller meat and fish plates include sweet Pork neck, pineapple and sticky rice, beef bavette with kimchi, and shiitake ketchup and spiced buttermilk cod with dhal. Add a side portion of truffled polenta parmesan chips and char-grilled tenderstem broccoli with Romesco and you’ve got a feast. Cocktails, wine, coffee, tea and fresh juices are available all day. NOPI isn’t exactly a bargain, but the food is really good. Slightly irritating are the two-hour table slots, but for breakfast and lunch at least that’s plenty of time.
THE PRICE: Porridge £9, Black rice £9.5, Shakshuka £12.1, grilled Mastelo cheese £12.5, Scrambled tofu £12.2. Courgette fritters £11.5, Burrata £13.5, Roasted aubergine £9.8. Mains: Chicken £22.2, Seabream £25.2. Small plates: Pork neck £14.9, Beef £14.9, Spiced cod £13.9, Pork neck £14.9. Sides: Truffle polenta chips £6.2, Broccoli with Romesco £6.5. Cocktails from £10.5, wine from £7.5.
PAY BY: €ash and card.
BEST FOR: When you want more of a dining experience
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