NOPI – Soho

  • Restaurant: Nopi
  • Cuisine: Middle-eastern, Mediterranean
  • Location: Soho, London
  • Cost:  €140  for a table of 3 (including Champagne)
  • Value for money: 6.5/10
  • Service: 6.5/10
  • Ambiance: 8/10
  • Food: 8/10
  • Jelly Good Food Rating: 7.5/10

(Firstly sorry for the fuzzy photos, my camera is incapacitated post Las Palmas picnic so Im borrowing friends iphones…..)

So NOPI is Yotam Ottolenghi’s very on-trend brasserie in Soho and we chose it for a small celebration pre-show.  Dishes are small so you have to order plenty and share.

Between 3 of us we ordered:

Roasted Aubergines with black garlic, harissa, pine-nuts

French Beans with smoked wheat and lemon tahini dressing

Sea bass, smoked labneh, preserved Lemon

Twice Cooked baby chicken, Lemon Myrtle Salt, Chilli Sauce

Seared scallops, pig’s ears, black bean and ginger sauce

Seared organic prawns, sumac feta, fennel, Pernod

Pork belly, caramelised Nashi pear, grape mustard jus .

Lamb saddle, pickled aubergine, preserved Lemon, Harissa

I was intrigued by this place following Jay Rayner’s review of it in the Guardian last year  – he called NOPI a giant bathroom with great food on tap.  The decor for NOPI correctly enough is reminiscent of bathrooms because there are a lot of white shiny tiles but it’s simple and bright and then offset by a much gold and brass making it a rather elegant bathroom – I like it, it has character but it’s not oppressive.

Food here was excellent but would have been even better if staff explained what you were getting as they serve it to remind you of some of the flavours to look out for – all portions are small so a great variety of dishes were ordered and I’m afraid I wasn’t exactly sure what was what in each dish e.g. I thought the Nashi pear was just a really well cooked apple, and I think I would have enjoyed the pork belly more thinking of pears!  Oh well, we can’t all have the pallate of an angel like J does.

In any case, food was mostly very good and some original flavour combinations were offered.  French beans had a fantastic dressing but were a little tough themselves,  scallops were very tender and beautifully golden – however over-salted to my taste.   The chicken was really well marinated and had a lot of zesty flavour.   Best dishes were the seared prawns, pork belly and lamb.

Overall I enjoyed Nopi and would recommend it –  it does most things right and is very modern in their take on cooking and serving however, it’s a very London kind of place –  including the scarcity of carbs on the menu.  Its also the kind of place you have to spend a lot of money in to get full enjoyment out of it – although individual dishes are circa £10, you have to order plenty of them for each course.  Which is why Im not in a rush to get back there….after all London has so many other places to try!

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