Nopi is a new restaurant from the team behind the much-loved London chain Ottolenghi, headed up by chef and Guardian columnist Yotam Ottolenghi. Poke has designed both their websites, so it seemed right that a couple of us go check out the new venture…
Located NOrth of PIccadilly (hence the name), Nopi is an all-day brasserie serving modern food with a Middle Eastern-Asian slant. Another Ottolenghi – with its simple clean flavours – this definitely isn’t: the dishes here have been refined by the chef team over months and months, and it really shows in the tasting. Small plates designed for sharing are perfectly formed, really getting to the ‘essence’ of an ingredient, whether it’s super-concentrated lamb belly or an intense tomato sauce with grilled prawns. Happily it wasn’t just heaven for carnivores, with a whole veg section of the menu for me to pick from.
Here were some top hits:
Butternut squash ‘hummus’ served with sourdough bread was an amazing start to the meal. You wouldn’t think squash and tahini would work but it really did, and was extremely moreish. I sneaked the recipe from the waiter, so will be trying this at home!
Savoury blue cheesecake managed to be both rich and light, with slightly bitter mushrooms and a sweet glaze on top to cut through the dairy. In the background, the warm winter greens with yogurt was a lovely accompaniment.
Puds were a hit as well, the cardamom-rose rice pudding being my favourite, and cocktails and wines were excellent too. The decor is light and bright with plenty of luxurious gold and brass, and special attention was paid to the acoustics so the ambience is buzzy but relaxed. (Bonus: the octagonal mirrored toilets are simply incredible.) It’s quite expensive, yes, but you’re paying for the obsessive attention to detail, the expertise, and the time that goes into making sure everything is just right. If you’re looking for a rather special and unusual meal in central London, I’d certainly recommend it.
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