Thursday, 22 December 2011


It is possibly wrong to start a food review by writing about the toilets. It’s probably even worse to commence putting proverbial pen to paper when said review concerns Nopi the brainchild of Yotam Ottolenghi. Surely then I should dive head first into the food review element of what is, well, in essence, a food review. However, I strongly feel it would be remiss of me not to start with the funky toilets with their panelled mirrors giving the impression of never ending angular mirrored reflections. Should one be vainglorious enough, ahem, then there’s much to love about these toilets once, you’ve actually located the actual toilet in the midst of this mind trick. Otherwise it could get slightly messy.

But, it’s not for the toilets that I’m visiting. It’s my third visit to Nopi since it opened on Warwick Street early in 2011, nestled behind the mayhem of Regents Street providing respite for weary legs on a Sunday at brunch. It already seems to feel like a London institution and is a welcome addition to the Ottolenghi family of restaurants. I’ve visited 3 times since its opening and have yet to be disappointed. I’ve always made it on time for the breakfast menu which is served until a leisurely 12pm, ideal for a Sunday. I have also benefitted therefore from the far more affordable menu of gastronomic delights before it shifts to the lunch and dinner menus which are quite a lot more expensive.
My imagination is quite limited given that the first time I visited Nopi I plumped for the borlotti bean stew served with chorizo and fried Italian egg on bread. The first time I tasted it, it was delectable, and the fear of selecting something not quite as amazing has always made me return to my conservative choice upon each subsequent visit. I know this is wrong and I’m dealing with this issue, but I’m like an addict in need of my fix. Once again, I get my hit.
My friend decides on the scrambled eggs and smoked salmon with focaccia. It’s served with greens. I think I detect mint in there and she believes there to be nettle, I can’t be sure, my knowledge of nettle is limited. It’s enjoyable.
To wean myself off the borlotti stew, we decide to try a sharing plate of the rice, coconut milk, banana and mango. It only serves to add to my list of latest addictions. It is quite simply divine. The rice is black and some coconut milk is poured over it with chopped bananas and mangos. It’s presented with syrup and milk, but really there is no make the additions as it is sweet enough. Potentially then, my addiction to the borlotti bean stew has been fixed, just to be replaced by the black rice.
The breakfast/brunch must be enjoyed with a carrot, ginger and apple juice. The juice is served in its exact proportions and is delicious. To round of the morning I have a tea and my friend a coffee. The tea is served in a transparent glass cup with a metal tea handle attached from the bottom. At one stage the handle manages to come a cropper from the cup and I’m not really sure why. A nimble reaction ensures that disaster is averted. The bill comes to around £43 including tip and an optional £1 provision for a homeless charity.
It’s a winner, pretty much like everything Ottolenghi touches or associates with – including for that matter his cookbook which is the easiest cookbook I have followed and led to me creating the best chocolate fudge cake known to man and tasted as good as anything I’ve ingested at Ottolenghi’s Islington restaurant. I include the picture of one of my finest ever Ottolenghi creations just because I want to. Happy days.
NOPI on Urbanspoon

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