NOPI, 21-22 Warwick Street, London W1B 5NE
NOPI has been on my list for ages, my lovely best man at my wedding, Keith took me there for a pre-wedding treat. NOPI It’s a fairly new Ottolenghi restaurant serving small plates, typically from the Middle-east and Asia.
We had both scanned the menu during the day at work so already had our eye on a few things, and had worked out what cheese dishes to avoid (oddly, we both have a strong dislike of cheese). When we walked in I was struck by the beautiful soft yellow lighting, reminded me of the inside of the trulli buildings in Puglia, which was very apt as that’s where we got married. We were booked in downstairs which is more informal than the main dining room, with communal tables and an open kitchen, it was almost like going for dinner at a friend’s (very nice) house.
We started of with a cocktail, I was tempted by the Saffron chase, but it was one of the pricier cocktails and I didn’t want to take advantage of Keith’s generosity. Instead I opted for an Anise & apple instead, Pernod absinthe, dry rum, mint, apple, cucumber, lemon & pepper. Keith had a Rum and pistachio. At NOPI they serve you with complimentary water and also delicious sourdough bread, more places should really do this.
They recommend three savoury dishes per person, so we did just that, it was definitely the right amount, and it arrived a couple of plates at a time. We honestly loved every single dish, nothing disappointed and we were excited by it all. Even the twice-cooked baby chicken, lemon myrtle salt, chilli sauce was amazing, made me appreciate what a good and forgotten meat chicken is these days, wish we had one each.
The chargrilled broccolini, skordalia, chilli oil was gorgeous, and ideal with the chicken, the skordalia a Greek garlicky potato mash, broccolini is a cross between broccoli and kai-lan, a Chinese broccoli. I loved the fact that other people on our table would ask what our dishes were and vice versa, lots of food envy going on. And a very mixed clientele.
Next came the seared scallops, pickled daikon and green apple, it was the first time I’ve eaten scallops that I hadn’t cooked myself, so much better, now I know what they’re meant to taste like, delicious and soft. And the seared sea bream, citrus salad and tamarind relish went perfectly with it, although it was probably the least exciting dish.
Time for some meat, the slow-cooked pig cheek, celeriac and barberry salad bought a nice touch of rich meatyness and the Otak-Otak (steamed fish and coconut parcel) was a beautiful light dish, I love anything cooked with coconut as I adore Thai food.
Desserts were also lovely, but not as lovely as the savoury dishes. But then I am more of a savoury kind of girl. I had the kaffir lime, meringue, tapioca, honey and mango and Keith the roast hazelnut ice-cream, chocolate ice-cream, and warm chocolate sauce.
The toilets are not to be missed, seriously! I almost got lost inside them, all mirrored, you can see your reflection everywhere, not ideal if you’re not a fan of mirrors like me. Keith looked at me oddly when I came out raving about them.
Talking of cool toilets, I decided to take Keith for a nightcap at the beautiful Bob Bob Ricard as we were in the area, and to thank him for a lovely meal. Keith hadn’t had the pleasure of BBR yet and I knew he’d love it. We sunk into a booth in Bobby’s Bar and I had my favourite Blackberry Bramble, made with homemade sloe gin, I can drink loads of these with no risk of a hangover, and they contain fruit, result!
The first time I came to here with my long-lost friend @Stray__Bullet, I had the pleasure of meeting owner Leonid Shutov himself and experiencing the Russian salad and the vodka. Leonid instructed me to take a swig of the ice-cold Kauffman Selected Vintage 2006. and then a mouthful of the salad, it totally wipes clean your palette so you can taste all the intricate flavours of the salad. It certainly worked and would be ideal to do at places like NOPI with small plates. I still haven’t had a meal at BBR yet, I don’t think the salad really counts as a meal…
Back to NOPI, I can’t recommend it enough, although it is pricey, I had some of the most stunning, creative and beautiful food I have ever eaten, and I can still taste it and remember all the flavours just looking at the pictures. Fantastic service also, friendly and informative. Am desperate to go back, one of my favourite meals ever.
Thank you Keith. x
Monday to Friday – 8am-2:45pm; 5:30pm-11:30pm
Saturday – 9am – 11:30pm
Sunday – 10am-4pm