287 Upper St, Islington, N1 2TZ
Nearest tube: Highbury & Islington
020 7288 1454
020 7288 1454
Yotam Ottolenghi is a very interesting guy – he is a Jewish Israeli and his partner is a Muslim Palestinian – they are an advert for middle east peace and good quality food. Many people reading this will be familiar with Ottolenghi, from his Guardian food column to numerous bestselling cookbooks: his food is Mediterranean fused with Japanese and a sprinkling of Israeli. The menu at the Upper St. branch is very eclectic with lots of strange flavour combinations, but these almost always work because Ottolenghi has a great palette. Seared tuna with sesame and soy was extremely clean and fresh. The signature dish of aubergine salad with lime yoghurt and pomegranate was refreshing yet filling; the aubergine was perfectly cooked. We then moved on to hot plates which were generally a bit disappointing – the pan fried gurnard in red wine jus was hearty but uninteresting; tofu with aubergine and lotus fruit was lent a nasty bitterness by the lotus fruit; mushroom and buckwheat polenta with truffle cream was gritty and very earthy – not recommended.
Verdict: all fans of Ottolenghi should definitely eat at one of his restaurants, but stick to his signature dishes and load up on the salads and cold starters.
Yellow fin, line-caught seared tuna with mixed sesame seeds and honey, ginger and soy sauce.
Pan fried gurnard with baby onions, Jerusalem artichokes, hazelnuts, shimeji mushrooms and red wine stock.
Roasted wild mushroom and buckwheat polenta with pickled quail’s egg, bread crumbs and truffle cream.