Nopi, London

I cannot remember ever starting a restaurant review by discussing its architecture, specially in regards to its lavatories.

 I cannot think either of any other loo I have ever photographed in any of the restaurants I have visited, but it was agreed amongst those who I shared my dinner with that the designs of both the female and male lavatories were worth noticing due to their clever use of space, and so as the architect I am, I had to visit and record what I thought was most clever use of mirrors and concertina doors I have come across.

Nopi  (North of Picadilly) is the latest Ottolenghi venture with an Asian inspired menu in a wonderfully charming setting designed as a collaboration between designers Alex Meitlis  and Iris Kadouri. A clever pallet of materials (white marble and tiles with bronze and copper accessories) creates the illusion of space and offers a warm welcome at the same time. To appreciate the level of detail that this restaurant has gone into, you should check the “Here Design” agency brand identity page,

A clever pallet of materials (white marble and tiles with bronze and copper accessories) creates the illusion of space and offers a warm welcome at the same time. To appreciate the level of detail that this restaurant has gone into, you should check the “Here Design” agency brand identity page, here

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Burrata, clementine, coriander seeds, plum wine.

Ever since it opened I had wanted to try this restaurant and so when a dear friend suggested it for our catch up a few weeks ago, I could not resist.

We were three adults and I have to say that, despite having shared the various dishes, I could not eat a dessert. The richness of each one of the individual dishes caught me by surprise.

From our starters I can tell you that the coriander seeds of the burrata, puffed up and crispy as they were, contrasted wonderfully with the mozzarella-like unpasteurized cheese and Clementine segments.From our starters I can tell you that the coriander seeds of the burrata, puffed up and crispy as they were, contrasted wonderfully with the mozzarella-like unpasteurized cheese and Clementine segments.

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Valdeón cheesecake, pickled beetroot, almonds, thyme honey.

The cheese cake though, was out of this world , as they say. Rich, creamy and nutty at the same time, it had the consistency of a soufflé. What a surprise that was!

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Grey mullet, rasam, mustard seed potatoes

The grey mullet on a broth was fresh and light tasting. Absolutely delicious.

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Sea bream, celeriac purée, spiced cauliflower .

The seabream though… wow! All three of us agreed that the contrast between the velvety celeriac pure with the crunch that the cauliflower was a surprise and the resulting flavours gave this fish dish the edge.

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Venison, caramelised yoghurt, peanuts, blackberries

The venison was a wintry celebration. The deep flavours of the sauce and berries were a great match to the depth of flavour of the meat complementing it .

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Truffle polenta chips, parmesan, garlic aioli

The oven baked polenta chips are rather delicious and a great way to accompany the meat dishes. They feel hearty, and comforting, especially with the aioli… if only they had some chilli, they would be fantastic.

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Pork belly, crushed pumpkin, apple and walnut salsa..

The pork meat was delicious and so was the crackling (i was told), but what was a great triumph for all of us was the mushy mix of wintery flavours the pork sat on. It felt like Christmas on a plate.

After such an amazing selection of dishs I had no interest in eating desert but thanks to my brave friends, i not only have pictures to show to you but their feedback too.

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Coffee and pecan financiers, maple cream.

When this dessert came to the table I thought to myself that sometimes “less is more”, and that, although Mediterranean generosity has its place, maybe, this was not it.

It did however looked delicious, and given my friend was very happy when she saw it, I kept my thoughts quite… I was however, right.  In the end, four financiers plus the maple cream were indeed too much, even for a dessert lover like her.

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Pearl barley and malt ice cream, chocolate soil, date fudge sauce…

This one, I must admit, was one I was sorry to miss.  A kind of rice pudding ice cream using barley instead of rice was accompanied by a deeply chocolaty sauce and bitter chocolate crumbs (soil, sorry) put a big smile in my other friends face. I love barley and I love chocolate, so I am pretty sure that this would have been my choice too. Unfortunately, having enjoyed a lovely dinner

I love barley and I love chocolate, so I am pretty sure that this would have been my choice too. Unfortunately, having enjoyed a lovely dinner I did not want to spoil it .

All and all, it was a lovely dinner in a very special place.

Photographs by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate
Text by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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