Monday 10 October 2016

Travel: An Ottolenghi Pilgrimage in London

If you've been a long time reader you know how much I love Yottam Ottolenghi. The truth is I own all of Ottolenghi's cookbooks and sometimes I struggle to use any other ones. There are some recipes I've used so many times that the pages almost taste like the dishes and I often happen to find a coriander leaf or chili seed in there too. Jerusalem, which I reviewed here is my favourite and most used cookbook of all time and I've also reviewed Plenty More and Nopi.

I've never met Yotam Ottolenghi in real life but I'm assuming he's lovely as he always takes the time to reply to my tweets when I post pictures of dishes I cook from his cookbooks.

I've always wanted to visit one of his restaurants so when I was in London this summer I made sure to plan a little Ottolenghi pilgrimage and it didn't disappoint.

There is an Ottolenghi empire in the form of delis/restaurants at various locations across London: Belgravia, Spitalfields, Notting Hill and Islington. The Belgravia and Notting Hill branches are delis opened during the day for breakfast and lunch while Spitalfields and Islington are deli / restaurants hybrids.

I visited Ottolenghi in Spitalfields which is in a brilliant location close to Spitalfields market in a vibrant part of East London. There's an appetising display of baked goods in the window and huge colourful bowls of salads on display. People can buy treats to take away or can sit onsite for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The place is all modern, white and swanky. We sat at the bar and enjoyed looking at the staff making cocktails. We visited at lunchtime when the place was buzzing. On the lunch menu there is a choice of hot mains (£21.75), mains from the counter with salads (£15.70-£17.90) and salads (£12.90-£15.50).

We ordered mains for the counter, as well as treats and a glass of orange wine to wash down the food. I'm not going to review each dish but it was as expected, full of flavours and true to Ottolenghi's cookbooks. To be honest I felt like I was eating something I could make myself because I've so overused all the cookbooks, but still it was amazing to experience.

The plates of salads were not particularly photogenic so I took picture of the displays instead. While lunch wasn't on the cheap side I was thrilled to have finally been to one of Ottolenghi's restaurants.

I also had booked a dinner in Nopi to celebrate my blog turning 4 years old and was so looking forward to it. It's located in central London in Soho and the restaurant is beautifully decorated with a white, marble and gold theme. We were sitting on the ground floor not to far from the windows but there is also a basement level with an open kitchen and the most confusing toilets.

As I own the Nopi book lots of dishes sounded familiar but everything sounded so tempting too. We really splurged and ordered lots of things from nibbles to dessert. In terms of food Nopi is a mix of Middle Eastern and Asian flavours.

From the burrata starter to the scrumptious lamb sweetbreads, everything was cooked to perfection and bursting with flavours. Mr. FFID said had the poussin as a main and said it was the best chicken he's ever had... now I have to find poussins in Dublin and recreate the dish at home.

The bill came high, especially with the bottle of orange wine but it we enjoyed it immensely and thought it was the perfect way to celebrate FFID's fourth blogiversary.

If like me you're a fan of Ottolenghi's cookbooks and find yourself in London, make sure to do a little Ottolenghi pilgrimage of your own.

What is your favourite Ottolenghi cookbook?