Mention the name “Yotam Ottolenghi” to most Londoners and you’ll get an eager nod and a knowing smile. The writer of a popular Guardian cookery column, the author of several award-winning cookbooks, and the overseer of a small chain of eponymous specialty delis, the man is well loved in the capital. But best of all is Nopi: his accomplished, utterly delicious formal dining room.
Ottolenghi made his name with vegetable-forward, spice-laden fare that’s evocative of his native Jerusalem, and Nopi revels in complex flavours. Great platters of colourful salads featuring seasonal ingredients and sprinkled with sumac or za’atar greet visitors from their countertop perches; the neutral hues of the dining room further offset their vibrancy. Though the menu is constantly changing, mainstays include the delectable twice-cooked baby chicken with lemon myrtle salt and chilli sauce. The preference for spice also carries over to the superlative cocktail menu, in drinks like the Spiced Pumpkin: an autumnal blend of dark rum, Benedictine, pumpkin puree, allspice, and nutmeg.
One more must for any visitor to Nopi? A trip to the toilets. We won’t give away the surprise, except to say that it’ll be a pleasantly disorienting experience.