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London: Shakshuka at Nopi 

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On a short business trip to London, I noticed that Nopi, an Ottolenghi restaurant, was located near our hotel, Le Meridien Piccadilly. We did not have much time, so I opted for brunch there. Of course, I can’t resist getting to know Ottolenghi! 

The vegetable chef

For those of you who don’t know Yotam Ottolenghi; he’s an Isreali chef, based in London, who wrote various cookbooks. He is well-known for his dishes in which vegetables play the biggest role. I actually read about him in a Sylvia Witteman column for Magazine Linda, I think, in which she complained that since Ottolenghi, everyone appears to add pomegranate seeds to every dish :) His bestselling book, Plenty, just had a successor: Plenty more. I’ve never tried any of his recipes, so a good introduction would be to eat at one of his restaurants:) 

Breakfast or brunch

Considering the limited time we had, I opted for brunch at 11. Which is, I now know, not really a brunch time. Oh well. Breakfast it is. The restaurant itself was quite sober. The hundreds of wine glasses hanging at the open bar, made the most impression. The restaurant was empty, apparently not such a popular breakfast place; or perhaps Tuesday’s are just regular work days for other people 😉 To be honest, the breakfast menu was a bit of a disappointment. When you expect top class vegetable cooking, choices between croissants and eggs with salmon, didn’t match my expectations. But… We noticed a dish called “Shakshuka”. That got me interested. The menu said: ‘braised eggs, piquantly pomato sauce, smoked labneh’. Honestly, I had no idea what labneh was, but gave it a try…

Delicious 

Yes, you can see the picture. It was absolutely delicious. Labneh turned out to be strained yoghurt, and really complimented the spicy tomato sauce. Yummie. I’d really recommend. A great out-of-the-box breakfast dish. What I was really disappointed by, was the orange juice, which was not freshly made. That is a real downer. In a time where we can fill our own bottles at the supermarket with freshly pressed OJ, a restaurant like Nopi should definitely serve fresh juice…

Oh, and I have to make a special reference to the bathrooms. Why? Because I have néver been in such a weird toilet. Mirrors éverywhere. Even the door – for which the ground has an arrow pointing to it, so you manage to get the heck out of there chased by hundreds of mirror reflections of yourself! 

Inspired by the food, I just ordered his new book. Perhaps I’ll try one of his other restaurants for diner, and will be more enthusiastic. 

Want to give it a try? 

Visit Yotam Ottolenghi’s website: http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk 

Order Plenty More: http://www.bol.com/nl/p/plenty-more/9200000025901197/ 

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