Ottolenghi, Islington

Monday, 22 February 2010 | |

Hello everyone! I'm not Ibzo. I'm Samantha. I eat food sometimes too. Specifically, today I ate lunch at Ottolenghi. Having visited the smaller Kensington branch earlier this year, I knew that they make delicious cakes. Today I planned to pop in for a takeaway coffee, after their mention in Time Out's Best Coffee feature. But due to being frozen stiff and rather hungry, I ended up trying some of their lunch menu too.

Flat white (£2.30). I am the biggest lover of flat whites and while this one was pretty tasty, it didn't blow me away (unlike the coffee at Dose, which I believe is brewed from the same Square Mile blend). It was a pretty tiny cup too, considering its one of the dearer on the Time Out Top Coffees list. It did have a good rich flavour, but the froth didn't satisfy me as much as coffee froth usually does...not sure why. Perhaps because the coffee itself was over in about five gulps!

Small main and and 2 salads plate (£12.60). Consisting of chargrilled salmon, chickpea, rocket and butternut squash salad, and mixed beetroot salad. The lunch menu has four plate options: 3 salads, 4 salads, 2 salads and one main, or 3 salads and one main. I chose the cheapest option bar the 3 salads, wanting to experience both salad and a main. I would have been happy with one of each, in fact it baffled me why this option was not offered. All three selections were very tasty, particularly the salmon when coupled with the Mediterranean-style garnish, although sadly the garnish was quite sparse. The beetroot salad was incredibly sweet and worked well with the creamy dressing accompanying it. The salmon was cold; I would have preferred it hot and freshly prepared, but I knew what I was getting, since I saw it ready prepared when I walked in.

I was quite surprised at the high price of the lunch menu, considering the food is identical to that in the takeaway boxes (priced by weight). However, it was definitely a hit with the clientele, with one woman seated nearby me ordering three salads and, soon after, ordering three more!

Ottolenghi offers a good selection of interesting dishes, and I do like the idea of trying several of them on one plate. The takeaway boxes are also a good option if you're after a lighter meal. However, it is definitely possible to find fresher, slightly cheaper food of similar quality, as we discovered when we visited Maltings Cafe.

Despite the high price of lunch and the somewhat disappointing coffee, I would consider myself a fan of Ottolenghi. Ibzo owns Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and it is a hit with me, I'd recommend it. Hopefully we'll be cooking some Ottolenghi at home sometime soon!

There are four Ottolenghi shops in London -- the one I visited, a stone's throw from Angel tube, is the biggest, seating around 50.

287 Upper Street
London N1 2TZ
020 7288 1454

Ottolenghi on Urbanspoon


Ibzo said...

i reckon you didn't enjoy the flat white as much because it's not as pretty as others available. bad froth art.

M. A. Salha said...

That's really pricey for what essentially is pre-prepared food. They should have cooked the salmon there and then. I guess you could go to Leon for something similar at lunch time and pay half the amount.

Harriet said...

I have been to Ottolenghi twice and had high hopes as I am a vegetarian and Ottolenghi has a good reputation for vegetable based cooking. However, I did think that it was incredibly over priced, even though each dish was cooked very nicely and the flavours were good, essentially I was paying several pounds for a small plate of green beans. I wanted to like it more than I actually did.

hotels in Islington said...

wow guys you convinced me not to go to Ottolonghi. I was planning to have a dinner there for some of the holidays. I suppose I have to choose another restaurant.

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