We’re always struck by feelings of culinary curiosity and marvel when flipping through Ottolenghi’s latest book, Jerusalem, or seeing him on tv cooking shows: “I wonder what that tastes like” and “Oh, I bet that tastes good”. Needless to say that over the years Ottolenghi has garnered much critical acclaim and a big foodie following.
We have previously eaten at one of Ottolenghi’s other restaurants (NOPI) and that experience left us very impressed with the cooking and creativity. As a result we were very keen, no desperate, to try out the food at Ottolenghi Islington. In the space of a couple of weeks we visited the restaurant twice to sample a wide selection of dishes and desserts.
Ottolenghi Islington is located on a main culinary road in Islington called Upper street (for instance, it’s more or less opposite of John Salt). The interior is similar to that of NOPI (sleek, white and clean), but Ottolenghi Islington is smaller in size. Another difference with NOPI is that the dessert menu at Ottolenghi Islington is much larger than NOPI’s, because of the patisserie that is situated in front corner of the restaurant (many people come in to order take away desserts). Guests are either seated on the long dining table shared with other guests or on the smaller, more intimate tables alongside the long dining table.
We visited Ottolenghi Islington twice (once during weekend lunchtime and once for Friday dinner) and we tried the following dishes:
- Char-grilled fillet of beef with sweet coriander-mustard sauce (8.5/10)
- Blood Orange with spicy macadamia, pickled red onion, pecorino, mixed leaves and orange blossom dressing (9/10)
- Golden beetroot with radicchio, spring onion, rocket, tarragon and Gorgonzola (9/10)
- Roasted aubergine with Iranian lime yoghurt, pomegrate seeds, spicy nuts and mixed herbs (8.5/10)
- Seared scallops and braised oxtail with cavolo nero, soy and ginger sauce (9.5/10)
- Glazed pig cheeks with apple stuffed tail and celeriac and barberry salad (9/10)
- Pan fried wild sea bass, black rice, mussels and clams with kohlrabi and fennel salad (9/10)
- Beef pasty (8.5/10)
- Flourless orange cake (7.5/10)
- La financiere dessert (9/10)
- Crumble dessert (7.5/10)
- Cheesecake with rhubarb (9/10)
- Chocolate Gateaux (9/10)
- Cheesecake with raspberry coolie (9.5/10)
All the dishes we tried at Ottolenghi Islington tasted extremely fresh and tasty. It is the kind of food healthy food that every person latently craves. The menu changes frequently depending on the chefs’ whim and what’s in season, which ensures that you can try new dishes. The service at Ottolenghi Islington was top notch and could not be faulted even though the restaurant and patisserie are heaving with customer activity.
The overall bill at Ottolenghi Islington came to £145 (including optional service charge, a bottle of water and two glasses of wine).
Food rating for Ottolenghi Islington: 8.5/10
Service rating for Ottolenghi Islington: 9/10
Overall rating for Ottolenghi Islington: 8.5/10
(The overall rating is based on personal taste, opinion of ambiance and price)