Now that I’m back in London and school hasn’t started yet, I’ve been trying to stuff in as many good meals as possible before plunging into my final year of Uni. One place I’ve always had on my to-eat bucket list was Ottolenghi, a very well-known branch of eateries that serves Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern inspired cuisine. Although the prices are a little bit steep for what they serve (mainly salads), the food was fresh and vibrantly flavourful, and it’s definitely a place I’d like to return to for brunch someday!
Although their Islington branch is known as their “flagship” location, it’s actually a very packed, small restaurant and there were queues the entire time we ate there- and it was a Monday afternoon! I can’t imagine how busy this place must get on weekends. The menu is quite simple- there are a selection of salads and main courses and you can pick and select what you’d like to eat (either 3 or 4 salads or 2 salads/3 salads with a main- obviously the prices are different). I’m not entirely sure how regularly the menu changes but it’s slightly different from the menu they have up on their website.
I decided to go for 3 salads- the roasted aubergine, butterbean hummus and roasted saffron cauliflower. They were all very delicious and packed with flavours, spices and textures- sweet, sour, tangy, chewy, crispy- you have it all! My personal favourite was probably the cauliflower, which was both crunchy and sweet and went very well with the hummus.
We also ordered some bread to go alongside the salads- a medley of sourdough, cornbread, Italian white and focaccia. My favourite was the cornbread, which was flavoured with a bit of curry powder. All the breads were fragrant and springy, with pockets of air embedded within each slice, and were great for mopping up the olive oil and hummus salad.
Afterwards we were a little too full for dessert, but how on earth could we resist this tempting display of layer upon layer of cakes, brownies, tarts and meringues ?! We decided to take a few home for tea, and finally settled on the lemon and blueberry cake and the fig and blackberry financier with sweet mascarpone.
The verdict? Delicious! I particularly liked the fig cake which was utterly decadent and moist, and came with a sweet raspberry centre. The blueberry and lemon cake was also nice but the texture was more dry- I prefer something more akin to a lemon drizzle cake instead.
Overall, I had a delicious meal at Ottolenghi. Whilst the service was slow at times the food was exciting and unique and so, so aesthetically appealing that you can’t help but whip out your phone to snap a photo!
287 Upper St,