05 November 2013
I am a big fan of all things Ottolenghi. I dream about creating his fabulous med inspired rustic dishes in the Guardian, but time and sourcing mysterious ingredients are always a problem. So, I was pleased as punch, when I found out about his latest flashy restaurant in easily accessible Soho. I brought one of my fave girly luncheon partners and off we went. The restaurant itself is glossy in a posh souk way with white tiled walls, eastern golden fittings and a grand display of large white bowls of very attractive salads (posh buffet style). The service was a little sharp, not oozing with family hospitality, which I was for some reason expecting.
The good looking menu has small and larger sharing dishes with zingy, mouth watering combinations such as duck with hazelnut butter, roast sweet potatoes with figs and cheese and truffled polenta, yum. We had the twice cooked baby chicken with chilli and salt, which was light, crispy and flavoured with eastern promise. We ordered it twice. The polenta chips were a little solid but there was some fab moreish chilli sauce. All the dishes are vibrant in colour and have a fresh, zesty, light feel, that cleverly whisks one away to that feeling of grazing at a gourmet barbecue in the soaking med sun. Unfortunately, we both had all-consuming colds, so could not fully enjoy the subtle flavouring and wizardry of Yotam. I was slightly underwhelmed, maybe the cuisine is better off in a posh deli rather than a high end, flashy restaurant. Prices are not cheap and add up with extra small dishes. However, I would go again, maybe when my tastebuds are revving up again and the desire for Eastern delights beckons .