Before we visited the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Victoria Miro, which you can read about here, we stopped off at Ottolenghi Islington for lunch first.
287 Upper Street
London N1 2TZ
Tel: 020 7288 1454
They look so scrumptious and tempting, don’t they?
That day’s lunch options.
I would say that the female diners outnumber the male diners by a 3:1 ratio.
EE went for the 2 salads with a main option and had the Char-grilled salmon with red pepper, almond, sherry vinegar and herb salsa + Roasted butternut squash with chickpeas, red pepper, manouri, smoked paprika and red onion + Red quinoa, wild and basmati rice with mixed nuts, sour cherries and rocket.
I went for the 3 salads with a main option and had Cherry tomato and goat’s cheese quiche with caramelised onion and thyme + Roasted butternut squash with chickpeas, red pepper, manouri, smoked paprika and red onion + Char-grilled broccoli with chill and garlic + Roasted aubergine with almond yoghurt, pickled chill and paprika toasted almonds (this was the standout dish for me and a better picture of it is below).
EE’s customary post-meal flat white, which she had huge praise for.
Style & atmosphere : Relaxed, casual and minimalistic with a nice vibe. Ottenlenghi Islington is actually the biggest branch and sits about 50. If you are looking for a bit of peace, space and privacy, you will not easily find it here as the main tables running down the length of the deli are shared and communal, although there are some tables for 2 against the wall to be found. Seems to attract a lot more female customers than male customers.
Food & Oishii-ness : 8/10. The only other place I had better salad was in Japan, so Ottolenghi is right up there in terms of making creative and tasty salad. Taste wise, everything we had was amazingly fresh and flavourful with well thought out flavours that harmonise well with each other. Ottolenghi have stated before that, “Simply put, we are very serious about making people happy through our food,” and whilst I can’t speculate or comment on how the other customers felt, EE and I did feel quite contented and delighted to be eating their food.
Bread : N/A
Service : 7/10. Fairly standard. Attentive and professional. Although our waitress did seem a little annoyed that I didn’t want to order a drink and just wanted tap water.
Toilet decor & cleanliness : 7/10. Toilets were a little disappointing considering how clean everything else was.
Value for money : 7.8/10. Just from looking at the prices on the menu, I did feel that it was overpriced. However, after clearing my plate, I felt that the price was justified as you are getting very high quality, freshly made, preservatives-and-colouring free food.
Would I go again : Very much so. I recommended it to my mum, who is a really, really fussy eater, to try and she surprisingly said that it was really tasty.
Tips : Please note that at lunch all the food is served cold. Reservations are taken for dinner but not during the day – try to make it extra early if you are planning on brunch/lunch as it can and will get incredibly packed with Islington locals. If you don’t want to wait they do have a take-away service that they can deliver or for you to pick up.