Saturday 16 April 2011

Nopi, Soho

Beef brisket croquettes with Asian 'slaw

I'm a big fan of Ottolenghi - both the cafes and the cookbooks. With such bright and bold flavours and colours, a table full of Ottolenghi salads is like an exotic, glistening jewellery box appealing to the eye as much as the palate.

The Ottolenghi team have now opened Nopi in Soho. It's an all day dining brasserie with small sharing plates, brimming with Middle Eastern and Asian flavours.

Kingfish carpaccio

After an enthusiastic days shopping, TPG and I dropped in for a pitstop at the bar for some shared plates and a glass of wine (or two). (Although other reports suggest it's best to book ahead).

Beef brisket croquettes with Asian 'slaw are sublimely rich, meaty and moist - the tangy slaw cuts through them perfectly. A must, I'd say.

Pan fried sea bream with turmeric potatoes and rasam is excellent, so plump and juicy, while a spicy kingfish carpaccio with pickled cauliflower is light and lovely.

Creamy burrato oozes onto a salad of bright blood orange and coriander seeds.

The wine list is interesting and our servers at the bar are fantastic - they do a great job of suggesting wines to match our meal, which really hit the spot.

The atmosphere is lacking something (might it be different in the evening?), and its quite a dark spot on a sunny day - but I do love the funky light fittings. It's smarter than the Ottolenghi cafes, but it's still fairly relaxed and people seem to be enjoying themselves. The downstairs canteen area has a big communal table overlooking the open kitchen, and is more in the Ottolenghi cafe style. Special mention must go to the room of angled mirrors that is the bathroom - try to find your way out in under 5 seconds (it's totally worth a visit while you're there).

Prices are in the mid-high range and can stack up - our bill came in at just over £70 for two people, including 3 glasses of wine and service.

Thinking about Ottolenghi's lusty cake selection, I'm tempted to go back to Nopi to try the cardamom rice pudding with rose syrup and pistachio. I'll keep you posted.

 Nopi,  22 Warwick Street, Soho, London, W1B 5NE (Tel: 020 7494 9584)

NOPI on Urbanspoon

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