Hardly a hidden gem I’ve picked, seeing as star chef Yotam Ottolenghi has had a worldwide success with his cookbooks and he can now be found gracing the TV screens, but even so his flagship restaurant on Upper Street in Islington is amazing.
Mixing influences and ingredients to a frightening but dazzling effect Ottolenghi somehow makes it all work, look amazing and taste even better.
It’s hard to really describe the food as the influences and tastes are so varied but, as an example, you can have ‘orange and fennel poached mackerel with beetroot and honey yoghurt salad and pistachio relish’ or the ‘seared scallops with pickled daikon, green apple, red radishes and chilli jam’. But to be honest, I could have picked anything as an example as it all sounds and tastes fantastic… and I haven’t even mentioned the cakes and pastries!
Dinner is rightly very popular so I have booked in the past, but whatever time you come you will not be disappointed. The selection of a three of four salads I had last time I went for lunch was brilliant.
There are a few other, smaller, locations to what I presume will be an expanding Ottolenghi chain in Notting Hill, Kensington and Belgravia but the Islington branch is the largest and the only one to open for dinner in the evenings although Ottolenghi has now opened a ‘proper’ restaurant (Nopi) if you can’t get in at Islington.
Go, queue if necessary, but go as it really is that good.