When I’ve had the hardest of weeks, I believe in treating myself. Perhaps a new dress, a shiny pair of shoes, a relaxing, money wasting manicure or delicious food at a restaurant I can’t afford.
Yotam Ottolenghi was put on this earth to create beautiful food for women. Not that men wouldn’t enjoy his gorgeous creations, but I can’t see a blokey bloke appreciating the thought and precision that goes into his dishes.
For this reason, I chose his lovely Islington restaurant as my Friday treat. The entire shop-cum-dining room is white, brought to life by vibrant food and flashes of red. Most people had booked, but despite being walk ins, we were quickly sat at the counter.
Everything is made to share and it’s suggested you order three plates per person. Because of the complimentary, oh so delicious bread, we opted for five dishes – two cold and three hot – along with a glass of biodynamic Prosecco.
Our drinks came first and were quickly returned. We couldn’t get our heads round the sandy coloured, misty, flat Prosecco, so went for a couple of glasses of biodynamic wine. This fared much better and we appreciated the waiter’s lack of annoyance when we made the change.
Roasted Aubergine (£9) paired well with Walnut Yoghurt, Herbs & Spicy Walnuts – an inspired combination only Yotam could muster. The Grilled Pear (£9) was equally good. Golden and sweet, the fruit made a delightful contrast to the bitter leaves, crunchy pecans, hot chilli and intense Roquefort dressing.
My favourite hot dish was the Poached Duck Egg with butternut squash, roasted mushrooms, glazed cranberries and buckwheat biscuit (£11). The egg itself was a sight for sore eyes, somehow moulded to resemble a flower in bud. The mixture beneath was curried, sweet and multi-textured, tying everything together.
We also ordered Pan Fried Pollock (£11), which was tasty, but a tad overcooked. However, The Quail (£11) was delicious, covered in grains of sharp mustard and sitting on a refreshing bed of chopped fruits and fresh pea shoots.
You’d be mad to turn down pudding. We had a gorgeous passion fruit pie that was almost too good to eat…almost.
The bill wasn’t cheap, but this dinner was a treat. Yotam is one of my favourite chefs and Ottolenghi didn’t disappoint when it came to the food, staff, atmosphere and general prettiness. So for that ladies, I’m giving it a LLE Rating of 8/10.
Ottolenghi, 237 Upper Street, London N1 2TZ