Ottolenghi’s NOPI: White and Flashy (7.5)

NOPI is a relatively recent addition to Yotam Ottolenghi’s collection of restaurants in London. I first knew the name Ottolenghi through adapting one of his recipes that I thought was full of vibrancy and creativity, a refreshing break from boring old techniques and flavors.

The restaurant interior is a clean and neat white with glossy marble floors and shiny golden touches. The menu looks thrilling—say mutton shawarma with pickled quince and yogurt, or crispy saddleback pork belly with black bean sauce and kimchi. The selection of vegetarian dishes looks even more striking, with choices like Valdéon cheesecake with almond, pickled beetroot and thyme honey, or roasted aubergine with sake cream. It almost looks as if a kid was randomly mixing ten ingredients in any one dish and calling it real food. But this is where Ottolenghi’s creations stand out from fusion restaurants that try too hard: the flavors, despite being unconventional, are in harmony and deliver great taste, and as dishes all come in small portions, one does not get too much of the richness so as to feel uneasily overindulged.

NOPI is slightly on the pricier side and the bill quickly adds up if you are drinking. That being said, servers are cheery and helpful and any guest should be able to discover a new dish here. You might not fall in love with it but you would certainly remember!