Top of my list for eating in London was Ottolenghi. An avid fan since getting Plenty...the most amazing vegetarian cook book ever, seriously any one that has it will most likely tell you the same thing. It is like the holy grail for the most tantalising and inspiring vegetarian dishes so I apologise in advance for all the gushing! So on Tuesday, post a little retail therapy along Oxford St and Regent St it was off to catch up with a friend for a spot of lunch at the Ottolenghi flagship store in Angel Islington.
I am hoping that all the walking I am doing is off setting all the eating...my feet are certainly feeling it coming from driving everywhere Auckland. By Wednesday I resorted to trainers, seriously anyone that knows me knows that trainers are for the gym only! But oh did my feet appreciate it.
I actually missed Ottolenghi first time passing by on the opposite side of the road....for anyone unfamiliar with Angel the street numbers do not go up in evens and odds, they go 1, 2, 3, 4....so I just kept walking hoping to find number 287 and was somewhat surprised when the numbers stopped in the 240s! Thank goodness for Google and my iPhone and with a little back tracking I reached my mecca. You can't book for lunch but things were shuffling along pretty quickly and it only gave me time to peruse the amazing looking salads and the positive bounty of tantalising sweet treats.
I opted for the salads....they all sounded so incredibly appealing (gushing I know but I did warn you.)...roasted aubergine with tahini and yoghurt sauce, chilli, basil and almonds, saffron roasted cauliflower with sultanas, green olives, pine nuts, lemon and parsley, giant butter beans in a spicy tomato sauce with feta and mint.
I opted for the roasted butternut squash with cardamom and lemon yoghurt, coriander and pistachios, mixed green beans with quinoa, pomegranate seeds, tarragon and chard, baked fennel wedges with fresh oregano, fried breadcrumbs and Parmesan crumb and roasted potatoes with smoked paprika, chilli, rosemary and garlic.
There was also the option to add some fish or meat...on offer on Tuesday seared fillet of beef with sour cream, grain mustard, horseradish and rocket or char grilled salmon with celeriac, capers and tarragon remoulade plus tuna, chicken and lamb options too, so need for the carnivores to go hungry.
The stand out for me was the squash. Roasted, sweet, fragrant zesty yoghurt, fresh aromatic coriander and a little nutty crunch from the pistachios. We will definitely be attempting to replicate this one at home. The mixed green beans was fresh and full of textures. The crispness of the beans, a little fruity crunch from the pomegranate seeds and comfortingly nutty quinoa. The fennel was slightly sweet and the fresh oregano and Parmesan crumb the perfect sharp, slight lemony foil. I am a huge fan of smoked paprika and potatoes, so I was always going to love the potatoes...I would even have like just a tad more of the smoked paprika, but then I am on the love side of that love hate relationship. All complemented by a quite delicious glass of Proseco, I wish I had taken the name of it as it really was a lovely little tipple.
Filling and satisfying but I just couldn't go past a little sweet treats. So many delights to choose from...fruit tarts, huge meringues, crumbles, cheesecakes. I decided upon the chocolate raspberry cup. It was so moist, so chocolatey and in the middle gooey raspberry. Topped with sour cream, fresh raspberry and a little green fleck of pistachio it was a somewhat perfect dessert. And to top it all off Ottolenghi even do good coffee, and by that I mean good coffee by our exacting Kiwi standards.
All in all amazing, I do love it when something you have longed for, or looked forward to so much lives up to, exceeds even, expectations. So if you are in London I can only highly recommend that you take a wee trip up to Angel and check out Ottolenghi.