Ottolenghi is one of those cafes that you only experience once a year, if that. I was lucky enough to be taken by a wonderful friend Will who knew just how much I loved breakfast and backgammon.
Ottolenghi is an infamous London restaurant for great Israeli food, salads, waits to get a table and their incredible pastries and cakes. Situated on Upper St in uber-trendy Islington –this café is my pick for great, of not a little expensive well executed morning fare.
- Shakshuka North African dish with eggs, peppers and tomatoes served w/ labneh and grilled focaccia – £9.50
- Welsh rarebit on sourdough served w/ a poached egg and wilted chard with lemon – £7.95
- Organic English Breakfast tea – £1.95
- Latte – £2.50
On an abnormally warm and sunny London day, Will and I walked in and without skipping a beat were sat down opposite each other on a long communal table punctuated with retro toasters. One of the quirks of the joint is a bread board that you toast yourself at the table and smother in home-made jams, nutella and honey. From what I saw this looks like a great option if you are looking for something simple. The menu was a little meaningless for me as knowing it was an Israeli restaurant I was headstrong about ordering one of my fave brekky sides – Shakshuka. For those unfamiliar, Shakshukka is a spicy tomato based ‘stew’ with onions, sometimes a spicy sausage and baked eggs served in its frypan with crunchy bread to sop up the leftover sauce. An easy choice!
Will went for a British favourite Welsh Rarebit – a foreign brekky for us Aussies but delicious! Ottolenghi’s Welsh Rarebit consists of a sophisticated cheese on toast with beautifully sautéed chard and two perfectly poached eggs. The serving size was relatively small in comparison to mine but so beautifully executed that it was hard to pick fault.
I am all for communal tables in most cases but at times I felt a little like I was eating on top of the woman next to me – there is a lot to be said about the luxury of space we have in Perth restaurants!
After much gossip was had, life goals created and two-week tours with politico comedians discussed, it was time for the big questions – dessert or no dessert? Gracious Will allowed me to make the impossible decision – it was difficult, but a shortlist was created and the winner was a flourless orange and almond cake with a gooey chocolate glaze. Everything about this cake was heavenly – it was two times the amazement of devouring a whole Terry’s chocolate orange and then some.
Overall – scrumptious, moorish and devilishly delightful – perfectly finished off with a game of backgammon in the sun! I also flicked through the cafes two highly regarded cookbooks whilst there and have been told that the vego book is incredible! If you are too far from London to pop down check out their recipes and cook for a loved one this Sunday morning.
Suz’s notes: I wrote this review from the comfort of my uber-economy seat on flight SQ215 Perthward bound! So… expect much more blogging from the two [now three!] surviving Perth bloggers. Watch this space for plenty of summer blogs as a record breaking five of us will be home over Christmas!
Address: 287 Upper Street, London N1 2TZ (map)
Phone: 020 7288 1454
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 8am-11pm; Sun 9am-7pm