Crave Magazine

Flavour Sensations at Stylish NOPI in Soho

There are many great chefs who have left their mark on London’s restaurant scene. One of my absolute favourites is the fabulous Yotam Ottolenghi. The Israeli-born British chef, alongside Sami Tamimi, is the co-owner of seven delis and restaurants in the capital and the author of best-selling recipe books. I’ve cooked many a delicious dish from these books and love his Middle-Eastern style of cooking and surprising flavour combinations.

NOPI in Soho opened in 2011 and was the group’s first full-service restaurant, lovingly referred to by the team as his first grown-up restaurant. It’s sleek and stylish and set in the heart of the winding streets of Soho. And its recently appointed new chef, Elaine Goad, is the group’s first female head chef. Goad was brought up between Hong Kong and the Philippines and her dishes celebrate these flavours while also paying homage to that unique Ottolenghi style.

The menu is divided into nibbles, small plates and mains. We were advised to order three small plates each to get a good sampling of the deliciousness on offer. Always happy to take good advice, that’s just what we did, choosing three from the vegetable section and three from fish and meat.

Each dish is so cleverly thought out and beautifully presented, it’s pure joy eating at NOPI. Vegetables have never tasted so good. From the luscious aubergine with its cashew nut tahini, crispy mushrooms with Thai basil aioli and grilled asparagus with fresh za’atar, we oohed and aahed over every mouthful.

The fish and meat were just as delightful, particularly the soy-glazed pork belly (my best pork belly dish ever) and the half a spring chicken, delicately spiced and served with cooling mint labneh. We couldn’t even resist the puds which were light and zingy – particularly my passion fruit extravaganza.

NOPI also serves a fabulous array of refreshing cocktails and has an unusual and interesting wine list. All making for a wonderful dining experience. We nearly had to be dragged out of there – it’s just that kind of place. www.ottolenghi.co.uk/restaurants/nopi

Words by Sandy Cadiz-Smith

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