Scallops, Nopi, London
Nopi is a restaurant in Soho from the man behind the highly successful deli, Ottolenghi. It has a complicated menu of small dishes from Asia, Middle East and the Med. I had high expectations of Nopi, and although nicely presented most of the plates (apart from the scallops) lacked the cohesion one normally enjoys from a truly celebrated restaurant kitchen, it missed that perfect balance of flavours and for me it turned out to be overhyped and overpriced.
|Bland flavours, roasted aubergine, Nopi, London|
The interior is very light and airy, with opulent fittings and marbled floors juxtaposed against rustic neutral furniture. It feels experimental, a bit like the food. No real cohesion, just a mix of an un-relatable ideas presented on a plate. We were limited to a one and a half hour dining session which proved a little short as a number of the dishes took some time for the kitchen to prepare - in any good small-plate restaurant, food comes out when it's ready with the option to order more as you see fit. We ran over our time, but this didn't present any problem at all with Nopi and they happily accommodated us.
|Best dish, Scallops with delica pumpkin, Nopi, London|
There were parts that I did enjoy, the scallops (quite small) were served with the pink roe and had been cooked nicely, seasoned well with a delicious puree of what I can only assume was the delica pumpkin. The baby chicken was nicely cooked, not dry and the 'cheesecake' was light and airy, drizzled with honey and topped with almonds for texture. To be fair it was a cracking dish and not heavy in the slightest - we'd been told by the waitress it was a heavy dish, she recommended we not order it and try it another time. I normally listen to the staff but this time I didn't and I'm glad I didn't. She clearly had not even tried it.
|'Cheesecake' more like a souffle, Nopi, London|
The roasted aubergine looked fabulous but itself was bland, the pickled chilli lifted it a bit but was still disappointing. The truffle polenta chips were underwhelming, they needed to be much drier on the inside and only hinted a flavour of truffle. The venison was perfectly executed, beautifully presented but once again, looked great but lacked any complimentary balanced flavours. I felt the caramelised yoghurt didn't work at all. The small plates range in prices from £9 to £15 while mains range from £19 to £25 pounds. We had around six small plates. I found the house white wine excellent, one of the best house whites I have had for a while.
|Venison, Nopi, London|
Overall, I don't think Nopi is a typical restaurant, I couldn't find any of the 'bold flavours' they speak about. I don't think its like most small-plate restaurants either, I feel like Nopi is a deli cafe on roids and it could prove quite expensive for the experience. A place for pretentious folk, I feel like it suffers a bit of The Emperors New Clothes. It's a good eatery but not somewhere I would go to experience Middle Eastern cuisine. For that I would recommend folk go to The Palomar.
|Truffle polenta chips, Nopi, London|