Monday, 2 February 2009

breakfast at ottolenghi

ottolenghi, islington
mum and h and i went to ottolenghi for breakfast today. it is perhaps one of the most serene eateries i know off and i suspect it owes itself to the simplicity of its lines and the whiteness of its walls. all accents of color are attributed to the foods that flank either side of the entrance. large shallow terracotta bowls hold salad creations that are medley of color and taste – flat overlapping arrangements of seared meats both white and red are laid out to one side. the other side is taken up by a display of desserts, each of them beautifully crafted and tantalizing to the taste buds. otto’s signature meringues streaked with berries and chocolate are stacked high and rise about the cakes, tarts and muffins. a blackboard sports a colorfully written menu. there are shelves that house the condiments range – jars of preserves and bottles of oil.

whilst waiting for h to arrive mum and i ordered americano coffee, a rich dark roast served hot with hot milk. on the dining tables of otto sit little square wooden boards upon which are little glass jars bearing butter, preserves and chocolate spread studded with nuts. with h’s arrival came the order for breakfast. a bread plate bearing a slice of plain sourdough, sourdough with sour cherries and a cinnamon pretzel as the almond croissants were finished. a savory side of portobello mushrooms with crumbled feta trundled along at some point, their blackish brown juices with lines of olive oil and a fleck of green herbs gathering in the centre of the plate they were served on. the bread was lovely untoasted and one of the glass jars produced a lovely caramelized banana jam which i fell in love with. the raspberry preserves were excellent too.

 in a rather bizarre end to brunch we ordered a slice of chocolate rum fondant cake – a very luxurious and rich concoction of dark chocolate, heavy cream and a rounding note of rum that enclosed all the flavors of the dessert with a perfection that is classical of ottolenghi. each and every ottolenghi creation i have sampled is a testimony to the ability of both these cooks to create food that is a treat of flavors that reveal themselves collectively and yet do not get eclipsed individually.