At Otium, Chef Timothy Hollingsworth creates sophisticated food, as befitting a restaurant in the shadow of Downtown LA’s new contemporary art museum, The Broad. He starts with something that most modern Angelenos would recognise – funnel cake, for example – and lifts it to a shocking new level; transforming the carnival snack with strawberries, red sorrel leaves, shaved fennel, and foie gras mousse. It’s the same throughout the impressive menu, from a simple seeming bowl of roast carrots that conceals a hefty wallop of pepián (a Mexican seed sauce), with a sprinkling of coriander and avocado, to steak and eggs with yuzu hollandaise.
Otium is just the latest project for Hollingsworth, having formerly been the Chef de Cuisine at The French Laundry in Napa Valley and the US representative at the 2008 Bocuse d’Or world championship. But it’s one that resonates with potential. Already popular with foodies and the cultural crowd, it’s drawing diners from across LA who are happy to battle downtown traffic for a chance to try the food at Otium. It helps that the restaurant itself, designed from the ground up by Osvaldo Maiozzi, is a stunner. Just sweep your eyes to the massive bar, with its library-style ladder to help staff gain access to the alcoholic goodies on the upper shelves, to the brass-enhanced outdoor terrace, to the open kitchen, and the industrial-cum-Art Deco bulbs above the sleek dining tables. And even if you didn’t make inside The Broad on your first trip to the area, you won’t feel the want of art, thanks to the massive Damien Hirst mural adorning Otium’s exterior wall.