A night in Ottolenghi’s beautiful Nopi

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If you live in London and you haven’t heard of Ottolenghi, I don’t know where you’ve been hiding. Yotam Ottolenghi is the Israeli-born British chef behind some of the best delis and restaurants in London. Yotam can literally make the most hum drum food taste absolutely sensational with his use of bold and exotic flavours. Did you ever think an aubergine or some sweet potato would feature in your last meal on earth? I know, it’s hard to believe, but trust me. What this man can’t do with a vegetable is not worth knowing.

Following a six month course at London’s Le Cordon Bleu, Yotam worked as a pastry chef at various hot spots in town before meeting his business partner Sami Tamimi whilst working as head pastry chef at Baker and Spice in Chelsea.

After opening a couple of hugely successful delis in Notting Hill and Islington, Sami and Yotam opened their first formal restaurant in Soho. Named after it’s location (North of Piccadilly), Nopi is a truly beautiful restaurant.

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With its white marble floors, white splash-back tiles and touches of gold, it’s the perfect canvas to showcase Ottolenghi’s colourful dishes.

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Once you walk through the doors, you’ll never want to leave.

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My lovely dinner date and I were shown to our candle-lit table for two…

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As a huge fan of white interiors, this table is pretty much my dream setting with its crisp, white, linen napkins and gold napkin rings.

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Intrigued by the vast selection of “orange wines” on offer, we decided to try a couple. Ricky went smoky and I went sweet…

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And when they say smoky….they mean smoky. Wow.

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And you thought rosé wine was pretty?

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Two thick chunks of freshly-baked sourdough soon arrived…

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Much to Ricky’s delight…

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And it was time to get stuck into that amazing menu. Just reading an Ottolenghi menu feels like a treat in itself…

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Ottolenghi is known for emphasizing the use of vegetables at the same time as eating and loving meat, which makes this the perfect spot for dinner with a vegetarian friend. The food on offer is a delicious mash-up of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean  and Asian flavours. Ottolenghi’s dishes have often been referred to as bold and loud, which is right up my street.

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If you’re struggling to decide which ones to go for, there’s the signature Ottolenghi counter showcasing over-flowing plates of his colourful dishes. Warning, if you’ve got an empty stomach, look away now.

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Oh yes, the food at Nopi doesn’t just taste good…

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We kicked things off with my all-time Ottolenghi favourite: the roasted aubergine, topped with almond yogurt and pickled chilli.

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Followed by slices of butternut squash, adorned with ginger-marinated tomatoes and lime yoghurt.

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And soft burrata, decorated with toasted cardamon seeds, clementine segments and drizzled with lavender honey.

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Ricky’s first Ottolenghi experience was going down a storm.

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Now time for the hot stuff.

Courgette fritters and polenta chips.

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Truffle and parmesan infused polenta wedges with a crispy coat, dipped into creamy garlic aioli….

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Still steaming from the fryer…

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Absolute perfection.

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Courgette fritters with chunks of melting manouri cheese, served with a cardamon yoghurt dip…

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And a drizzle of lime…

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These warm, pillowy-soft parcels with their gentle hint of coriander stole the show. True vegetable wizardry.

Finishing off with sea bream, celeriac mash and spiced cauliflower.

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Now on to dessert…

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We opted for a cherry crumble to share…

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Of course, this was no ordinary cherry crumble. A medley of spiced plum and sour cherries, with a generous sprinkling of walnut crumble.

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That whole sharing a dessert thing is not always a good idea….

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London-based foodie with a shopping addiction, a love for swanky interiors and an obsession with white sandy beaches.

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