NOPI’s chef-owner is Yotam Ottolenghi, who struck culinary gold a few years back with his game-changing Ottolenghi cafés. This somewhat more grown-up, all-day restaurant shares a similar look and ethos, but is more formal. The white decor is warmed up with brass fittings; the basement contains large sharing tables and an open kitchen. The inventive cooking has a firm foundation in the Middle East and takes bold flavour forays into the Mediterranean and Asia.
You can go the conventional route, with starters and mains, or take the opportunity for wider grazing by sticking to sharing plates (but these are quite small). Vegetarians have plenty of choice, with dishes such as a savoury cheesecake with gently pickled beetroot, crunchy hazelnuts and thyme honey, or a moreish side portion of truffled polenta chips. Star dish was spiced gurnard served Vietnamese-style: taken off the bone, mixed with chilli and spices, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed.
NOPI isn’t the greatest bargain in town (a main course of comparatively lacklustre chickpea dumplings with tahini and yoghurt cost a stiff £19). Two-hour table slots are strictly enforced, and service can seem rushed as a consequence. The wine list is as wide-ranging as you’d expect, with some excellent (if pricey) selections.