if you want the story of how NOPI (ottolenghi's new restaurant) came about, then it's best to read the NOPI blog which is a chronicle of this new outpost. the name itself which initially sounded incongruent is actually an acronym for 'north of piccadilly. it has taken me a while to get round to eating at NOPI. the other half and i were busy with our wedding preparations and then upon our return to london have been consumed with work. he is currently working on his chartered financial analyst exam and finally, tiring of waiting i went with a instead. it all worked out very well as a has never tried ottolenghi.
NOPI reviews have focused as much on the food as they have on the design and decor of the place and the restaurant recently won the innovation and design awards twenty eleven. there is a lot about NOPI which is signature ottolenghi - clean lines, simple furniture and the use of white as a blank canvass to accentuate the colour of food. where it differs is in its use of gold accents. the sign is a gold halo and the window is hemmed by a large strip of burnished gold. the toilets must get a special mention of their own, if only because of their unnerving kapoor-esque echoed reflection which is quite disorienting.
post noon NOPI serves its breakfast menu along with sharing plates. since i plan at some point to try the sharing plates with my other half i found it very easy to pick the shakshuka. a settled on the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, both of which were a nice and generous size. the shakshuka was accompanied by large slices of sour dough, lightly toasted and drizzled with a very fruity olive oil. as always the food was a celebration of colour and seasoning. i love the combination of onions, peppers and tomatoes and these were braised well so they were tender but far from mush. the sweetness was tempered by cumin and fresh coriander. the yolk which was a bright saffron bled into the juices from the vegetables and i loved mopping it up with the bread. it was the most flawless braised egg.
i would have liked to try the doughnuts with orange yoghurt and black compote but was unable to contemplate anything after the shakshuka. that's all the more reason there will be a next time.