In my view, the key to Yotam Ottolenghi’s success – from his restaurants to cook books – is his utter skill in putting together flavours that you would never have thought of, but come together like they were made for each other.
You’ll know if you follow his columns in the Observer that his ingredients lists can be a bit of a hassle to source, so having it all done for you is quite a treat.
The fact that we couldn’t get a table for two at the original Ottolenghi restaurant in Islington three weeks in advance gives you an idea of what a favourite it is amongst locals.
The idea is that you choose dishes from either the cold (deli) or hot sections of the menu, that are somewhere between tapas and main course sizes. Two or three dishes per person should see you right and believe me it’s tough to make your selection from such an mouth-watering selection – poached quince with roquefort, pickled red onion, pecans, balsamic and orange blossom dressing anyone? or how about roasted butternut squash and pumpkin with misa cashews, sping onion, chilli, ginger and sesame seeds (pictured here)?
Another reason to love this restaurant – as if you needed any – is the unusually equal attention given to meat and veggie dishes, so neither omnivore or herbivore feels he has been given the concessionary nod and left to ponder over one or two palty options.
I could also tell you about the quirky furniture, great value wine list, super friendly staff and to-die-for puds but I’ll save the space and just say if you want a treat, get down there – but don’t forget to book well in advance.
Dinner for two with deserts, wine and coffee around £100. Go to the website here.