NOPI (North of Piccadilly) is an all-day restaurant from Yotam Ottolenghi which opened in 2011. It is a big place, seating 120 people at a time, the upstairs dining area twice as large as the one visible from the street. Mr Ottolenghi was a journalist in Israel before changing career and coming to London to work as a pastry chef at The Capital Hotel and at Kensington Place, opening his first Islington establishment in 2002. He has since added shops and cafes in Notting Hill, Belgravia and Kensington.
The menu had starters from £7 to £12.50 main courses at £16 to £23 and desserts from £4 to £8.50. The wine list is printed on a card and ranges in price from £23 to £190, with examples like Benanti Bianco Caselle 2009 at £38 for a wine that you can find in a shop for £19, Batailley 1998 at £93 for a wine you can find retail for around £37, and Perrin De Beaucastel Chateauneuf Du Pape at £175 for a wine that will set you back about £62 in a shop.
I had a starter of mackerel with fennel and white grape salsa with tobiko (the roe of flying fish). The mackerel was grilled carefully and had good flavour, the salsa quite effective, and the grapes adding some useful acidity to balance the oiliness of the fish (easily 13/20). On the side a quinoa salad was pleasant rather than exciting (12/20). Dessert was a pretty slice of nectarine galette with a white peach sorbet topped with pistachio. The galette had nice pastry, the nectarine was ripe, and the peach sorbet well made (14/20).
Service was efficient; the bill came to £26.44 for lunch for one, with just water to drink, but this was for just a starter and dessert. If you ate a main course and drank moderate wine then the bill would quickly climb to around £65 a head or so. I enjoyed the food here, though the pricing is quite high given the cost of the ingredients that are being used. There are no lunch concessions on price –indeed, why should they bother when they are busy at full price? NOPI is evidently a very successful formula.
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