NOPI is a London (SOHO) restaurant opened in 2011 by Yotam Ottolenghi, a well-known UK based chef and writer. He has several restaurants & delis around London, with NOPI being the most formal one.
The ground floor is the formal restaurant, whereas downstairs in the basement there are long canteen tables and you can watch the kitchen at work.
Our table wasn’t quite ready when we arrived, so we had a drink at the bar. I was delighted to see all of my favourite drinks combined into one cocktail – champagne, gin and elderflower – so could not resist trying it! Elderflower syrup was used which made it super sweet – I think if it was just a touch of elderflower cordial it would be perfect, so might try this at home!
When we were seated, I was presented with a gluten free menu, which was just a slightly abridged version of the main menu. NOPI’s menu is influenced from the Middle East and Asia, with the menu changing with the seasons.
One of our party has a nut allergy (which had not been notified in advance) and the waiter was very impressive with his knowledge, and immediately knew which items contained nuts and nut oils. As I was sharing a plate with our nut allergy friend, the components he could not eat were given to me separately in little dishes.
It might be an unusual starter, but I had the roasted sweet potato with burnt aubergine yoghurt, basil and maple roasted seeds. It was served cold, which I wasn’t expecting, but combined with the condiments it was served with, the flavours were fantastic.
All of our party chose the sirloin steak for the main course (£30 – the most expensive item on the menu), although if I hadn’t been restricted by the gluten free options, I probably would have chosen the twice-cooked baby chicken. I absolutely love peppercorn sauce with a steak, and it was a very simple, delicious sauce and the vegetables served with it were just a bit different (in a good way) from the sides that often come with steak.
The music playing wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste – the only way I could describe it would be ‘house’ music. We didn’t mind it, but I don’t think my parents would have enjoyed it! I’m not sure if it was for the Friday night crowd, or whether that is just the style of music played.
Overall it was a really good experience (gluten free or otherwise), and I would recommend it for a special occasion lunch or dinner.
21-22 Warwick Street
London W1B 5NE
Tel: 020 7494 9584
NOPI is open all day, with breakfast, lunch, dinner and pre-theatre menus.