Find and book great restaurantsFind a Restaurant
See more Editor’s Picks
|Address:||21-22 Warwick Street, London W1B 5NE|
|Tel:||020 7494 9584|
|Price: £65.00||Wine: £23.00||Champagne: £45.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 8am-2.45pm 5.30-10.15pm Sat 10-11.30am 12N-5.30pm 5.30-10.15pm Sun 10am-4pm|
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
As we arrived at Nopi some friends of ours were leaving: chuffed to have beaten us to eat at the New Foodie Place Du Jour, they practically crowed about how great it was. And it is good, of that there is no question. The food is all lovely little dishes; the tapas style, that is all so de rigueur at the moment. They are well executed and well presented. But, and you just knew that there was going to be one, I felt ever so slightly let down by the whole experience.
The room is white tiled and functional (it doesn't have that lavatory appearance that tiled rooms can somehow have), with the tables nicely spaced and lights that look as though you can pull them down to lower them, '70's style. I resisted the temptation somehow.
The receptionist, bar staff and waiting staff were to a person fantastic; just on that right side of friendly without being over-familiar. The head waiter seemed mortified that he might have brought the wrong dish, when actually, given the number of dishes that we had ordered, I had simply forgotten. The waitress, however, did get the wine wrong, but insisted with such certainty that it was what I had ordered, we let it slide (it was lovely, by the way, and, as it had been a toss-up between two equally priced bottles, I wasn't that concerned that she brought me my second choice).
I like the way too that there is sparkling and still filtered water gratis, and there is none of that mucking around with a service charge for the, beautifully chewy, sourdough bread, a couple of slices of which arrive with some peppery olive oil once we were seated.
No, it was the food: it wasn't poorly prepared or poorly presented, but the expectation was so high that it simply couldn’t reach the heights that I had come to expect. Not at these prices: and yes, it is not what you'd call cheap. Tapas often can be expensive, but when the portions are sub-starter sizes and weigh in at above-starter prices, well you expect something out of the ordinary: you want uni or Jamon Iberica; you want your taste buds to sing out in joy. Three brisket croquettes (very nice and crunchy though they were) didn't quite have the tongue dancing.
At the menu’s suggestion, we duly ordered three dishes each, although if you were even mildly hungry, you could easily double that (we skipped the deserts, although they did sound good). The pick of the dishes was probably the Fondant Swede, which was an interesting twist on one of my favourite root vegetables. The halibut carpaccio was novel, coming with some samphire and little leaves. This was really a modern sashimi dish, and it raises a fair question: advertised as a restaurant offering middle-eastern food, where does sashimi come into it? I know that this used to be the home of the Sugar Club (one of the pioneers of fusion cooking), but it all seemed a little confused to me. We had sesami prawn toasts too: more doughballs filled with prawns than your traditional Chinese. Again nicely done, but give me the deep fried joys of the Royal China and I am a happy man. Good though they were, it didn’t really go with winter greens. OK, this may have been bad ordering on our part but, as things arrive in batches rather than in a set series, you'd have thought that the restaurant could have worked out which dishes went together and brought those at the same time.
Despite this confusion, I really did like it and I will almost certainly go back for a second helping and, having lowered my expectations, I am certain that I will enjoy it even more.