Friday, 20 April 2012

Ottolenghi @ Islington

Over the past few months I've waxed lyrical about the creations of Yotam Ottolenghi. Last night, I ventured into Islington to his restaurant for a spot of supper. The menu is fairly short, around nine starters and nine mains, some of which you can gaze your eyes on when entering the building. I would call it a 'salad' bar, but that conjures pictures of the dreadful offerings at places like Pizza Hut and Harvester. This is salad taken to another level.

Back to the menu, I wanted EVERYTHING. However, to accommodate one of my companions who's vegetarian, we decided to omit any meat dishes. In truth, the flavours and textures were so good, you didn't miss meat. We had roasted aubergine with garlic, sorrel yoghurt, roasted cherry tomatoes and pine nuts, Roasted butternut squash with miso, cashews, chili, spring onion, pickled ginger, wasabi and sesame seeds and Roasted beetroot with pecorino, red onion, walnuts and roasted rhubarb. Each salad was amazing, a symphony of flavours and textures.

For mains, we opted for the fishy offerings which again were faultless. The Pan fried sea bass with samphire, brown shrimp and leek and mustard vinaigrette was classical. The poached Mackerel with orange was inspirational and the Seared scallops with squash, cauliflower fritters, spinach, curried pumpkin seeds and balsamic sauce was historic.

The dishes are quite small but that then allows you to pick a dessert from the Aladdin's cave of cakes on display in the shop window. The lemon and mascapone tart was perfectly sweet and sharp, the Vanilla Plivier with forest fruit just yummy and the rum and chocolate torte incredibly rich, but light and brownie like at the same time. The only slight moan is that the wine list is quite expensive with most offerings north of £25. Nevertheless, three course with drinks, water, coffee and tip came to around £40 a head.

The restaurant has a lovely laid back feel though and all of the staff are knowledgeable on the ingredients and the concept. Can't wait to go back :o)

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