Tuesday, May 27, 2014

London: Restaurants – Ottolenghi’s Nopi

London: Restaurants – Ottolenghi’s Nopi.  With three deli’s, an online store, the Soho-based restaurant Nopi, his column in the Guardian, on-going cookery books and programs for television Yotam Ottolenghi is a busy chef. In his Nopi restaurant customers are greeted with fresh baked bread and his trademarks platters full of salads, which celebrate the bold flavors, he is so well known for. “We wanted an all-day brasserie. An urban, busy place, yet a place where you can relax and enjoy the food, service and view, both of the premises and of the people.  But, we didn't want to go down the root of creating yet another brasserie in the French style. So we dissected the brasserie elements: marble, tiles, wood and brass. These elements are conjured to create new, surprising and very modern combinations.”   The restaurant was designed by Alex Meitlis, one of the leading architects and furniture designers in Israel.

Nopi. Sami Tamini, “With a cooking style that is as inimitable as it has always been, vibrant and bold yet simple and honest, Sami holds the helm in the heat of the Ottolenghi kitchens since the first day we opened. Head chef, mentor to many, visionary behind so many of the longstanding and latest dishes, Sami’s precision, palate and panache is the heart and soul of the food we are renowned for. He and Yotam have co-authored the Ottolenghi Cookbook and Jerusalem cookbooks."

Simple yet elegant table setting; big brass O napkin rings hold crispy ironed napkins whilst the white paper tablecloths are store in especially designed holes in the wall by the bar.

Freshly baked bread, olive oil and water are brought to the table.  The Sparkling water is stored in a bottle with 3 Os on it’s front whilst the flat water has a simple O gold motif.

Mixed beetroot, pickled daikon, sweet miso yoghurt

Nopi. All the table and chairs are designed by architect Alex Meitlis.

Nopi’s menu changes according to the seasons but signature dishes from head chef Ramael Scully include courgette and manouri fritters, coriander seed-crusted burrata with slices of blood orange, above, and twice-cooked baby chicken with lemon myrtle salt and chili jam. Nopi serves breakfast, lunch, pre-theatre and dinner menus.


The brass lamps are replicas of an old lamp found in Jaffa’s flee market and, are reproduced by Iris Design Studio in Israel.
Nopi.  The more formal design of the ground floor gives way to the informality of the basement, where two long canteen tables look on to the theatre of the open kitchen.

The bar sculpture is by artist Tamar Blum Zidon, she brings a unique approach to a mundane and usually discarded material; using cardboard as her medium, she has developed a specialized technique in which she lets her personal artistic style flourish.  Her sculptures organic forms seems to have originated from nature itself, they emulate the work of nature yet do not characteristically imitate it.

The Valdeon cheesecake, pickled beetroot, hazelnut, thyme honey comes in a copper pan; the hot handle is wrapped with a napkin which is held together with string.

 Lemon sole, burnt butter, ginger, nori

Plum and Marsala trifle, blackcurrant and liquorice sorbet

Nopi.  The painting is by artist Josephine King who makes ink paintings on paper, framed by text, which documents the often-traumatic experience of her life.  Her debut exhibition “Life so Far” at Riflemaker, documented her bipolar illness, from which she has suffered since age twenty, but which ironically has been the catalyst for her paintings and their subject matter.  The painting above entitled “I told him I was an artist.  He said “can you cook?” is on loan from the Riflemaker Gallery.

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