Ottolenghi – fresh and fabulous flavours
287 Upper St, London N1 2TZ
Yotam Ottolenghi has become a household name, at least in Britain, with cookbooks and restaurants galore, all featuring a multitude of fresh flavours. I first stumbled across his beautiful food on Instagram, before eating at the Spittalfields branch last year. Recently, a friend of mine cooked me his chickpea dish, and a few weeks ago, I spent a large part of my Sunday in the Islington branch. And I simply can’t get enough! My recent trip to Israel awakened a new culinary part of my brain, and Yotam is satisfying it to a very high degree…
The flavours are incredibly fresh, and the prices surprisingly reasonable. The concept at their restaurants is to mix and match mains and salads, with around seven or eight choices for each. I’ve found that one main and two salads is just enough to get me comfortably full, and the best thing to do is go with somebody who is willing to share their plate, so you can get more variety! They also have a number of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
All the dishes are displayed at the front of the restaurant, so you can take a look and see what catches your eye, in addition to the beautiful descriptions on the menu.
On both visits, there was an aubergine salad, and if there is one on offer when you go, order it without hesitation. My first one was roasted aubergine slices with some sort of labneh and pomegranate seeds (plus at least 15 other ingredients), and last week it was black garlic yogurt, crispy peanuts, and another 24 ingredients on top.
My friend got the aubergine as well, but paired with feta and betroot fritters, plus sweet potato chunks and broad bean hummus.
I just cannot describe how fresh and wonderful everything tastes. I highly recommend Ottolenghi for a taste excursion, particularly one that is healthier than most other restaurants. It is very popular, so be expected to queue – the best thing to do is to go at an odd time to increase your chances of getting a table more quickly. I normally hate queuing for restaurants, but this is one where it is definitely worth your while.
So what are you waiting for?