A few days ago, we took the Eurostar to London for the weekend, where we met friends for dinner at NOPI (North of Picadilly), a fairly new restaurant in Soho that serves primarily small plates. The restaurant is the brainchild of Yotam Ottolenghi, the author of two award-winning cookbooks, and owner of four glorious take-out food shops in the UK capital.
From the minute we walked through the door into the brightly lit modern interior, I knew we were in for a treat. The menu is not extensive, but the dishes are carefully thought out and composed of unique
flavors and textures. Our favorites included a creamy burrata set atop fresh orange slices served with a sprinkling of toasted coriander seeds and a drizzle of lavender oil. Roasted eggplant paired with lime pickle and Greek tzatziki plus a dish of zucchini and cheese fritters served with cardamom yogurt were other temptations. A savory cheesecake scented with hazelnut, thyme, and honey arrived at our table in a small copper pan, only to disappear within minutes!
The service was warm and helpful, and the final tab, including a bottle of champagne, averaged around 75 pounds ($115) per person–definitely a splurge.
The following week, my husband and I took a friend to Pierre Sang Boyer, a new place in the 11th arrondissement named after its talented 29-year old chef, a Korean-French man. This is also an establishment where little plates take center stage, but here they are part of a set six-course menu. Small, but with a nicely polished contemporary interior, this restaurant is also a winner. From a first course of fresh peas, julienned carrots, and beets served with a delicious icy cold mustard cream to perfectly cooked saddle of lamb garnished with wild asparagus and roasted eggplant puree, we savored
every mouthful. This chef is not afraid of boundaries; he skillfully mixes cooked with raw ingredients, contrasts smooth with crunchy textures, and infuses his dishes with familiar as well as unexpected accents.
The service was excellent (our waiter enthusiastically explained each of the artfully arranged courses) and the menu is a steal at 35 euros ($45). However, no reservations are taken so it’s best to arrive when the doors open at 7PM to ensure that you get a table.
NOPI 21-22 Warwick Street
London W1B 5NE
Tel: +44 (0)20 7494 9584
Pierre Sang Boyer 55, rue Oberkampf
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