Last weekend, I found myself wistfully thinking back to the delicious meals I had indulged in while on holiday in Kuwait and Bahrain last year. I’ve been spoilt with far too much authentic, delicious Middle Eastern food to be swayed by the majority of restaurants in London; there are only two men in London that I can rely on for Middle Eastern food – Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, owners of the fabulous Ottolenghi chain of four deli/restaurants. If you live in London, I’m sure you must be as obsessed as I am, the food is delicious and the sumac and za’atar are on par with the incredible Dean & Deluca in Kuwait. Instead of heading to Islington or Notting Hill though, this weekend I visited Nopi, also part of the Ottolenghi empire located in Soho.
Nopi is a little more formal with whitewashed walls, Greek marble floors and golden brass accents. It still retains some Ottolenghi trademarks though; the beautiful salad platters by the entrance, the fantastic staff and yummy, bold Middle Eastern flavours with a Mediterranean twist. The menu changes seasonally but there are a couple of signature dishes, I opted for two: the courgette and manouri fritters and the twice-cooked baby chicken with lemon myrtle salt and chilli jam. At first bite, the fritters were just so-so but after squeezing the accompanying lime, I really appreciated the flavours and why this is a signature. It’s surprising what a difference a squeeze of lemon or lime makes! The chicken was divine, I thought it would be a bit bland but it was really flavourful and the chilli jam really complimented the seasoning.
I also went for the roasted aubergine with goats cheese, vanilla endive and spicy walnuts and the roasted butternut squash with labneh and walnuts, both of which transported me back to D&D in Kuwait. I also tried the truffled polenta fries with aioli which were equally delicious and a nicer (hopefully healthier) alternative to chips.