Over the years I have visited London many times. In my early 20’s I visited all the tourist attractions, galleries and shopping districts, packing my days from morning ’til night as to not miss a thing. These days I am more content to stroll, visit my favourite dining spots and seek out a new place or two to discover. I have blogged about London before so feel free to drop by that post as well here.
Me taking in a few touristy snaps while soaking up the lovely summer London atmosphere.
Although Ottolenghi is a London Institution, of sorts, I have never visited before. After years reading Yotam’s Guardian Vegetarian column and devouring his books, especially Plenty (the vegetarian one), I was well overdue a dinner reservation. So, this visit, I made it happen. On a bright and sunny summer evening James and I strolled the length of Upper Street in Islington, grabbed a pre-dinner drink, and then took our seats for a simply mouth watering experience.
To accompany our fabulous bread board we started with a glass from the extensive wine list many organic and biodynamic.
Ottolengi features a ‘salad bar’ like no other on Earth. We started our meal with two seasonal salads picked from the menu list ‘from the counter’. The first a zesty fresh combination of green and yellow beans with peas, lemon zest, garlic, herbs and pea shoots. The other featuring a stunning slice of striped beetroot was a triumph of beetroot and apricot with sunflower seeds, mint, tarragon, goat’s cheese and maple dressing. Each salad, starter sized, a very reasonably priced 9 pounds.
Our second course was chosen from the ‘from the kitchen’ selection: Black pepper tofu with saffron dashi, kombu, pickled cucumber and Chinese cabbage as well as Tempura courgette (zucchini) flowers stuffed with ricotta and truffle honey.
As famous as Yotam is for his veggies he is also a Desert Legend. James chose his world famous meringue for desert while I enjoyed a perfect French almond cake.
For Sunday brunch in London there is nowhere better to head than Notting Hill. The crowds from Saturday’s Portobello Market have dispersed and a wonderful atmosphere remains. My favourite spot to eat is Electric Diner which is adjacent to one of the oldest cinemas in London and downstairs from the Electric House. We met up with our friends Dave and Karina at the Diner for our first rendezvous, on the 3 weeks drip which was to stretch out before us.
This stunningly decorated and chic dinner features both comfy red leather booths, bar seating and a small amount of outside tables, perfect for people watching. The menu is both classic and progressive with items for all tastes. My order was their quinoa with wilted spinach, green beans, smashed avocado, topped with a poached egg.
While visiting Notting Hill it is well worth a wander. Daylesford Organic Farmshop and Cafe is a great place to pick up an organic snack or some quality fresh fruit to fuel your day’s adventure.
While in London I also enjoy visiting Whole Foods Market. There are a growing number of these stores opening up around the UK. Check out the full list of locations here. Not only is Whole Foods a really handy location for picnic/travel friendly healthy meals it also has a great selection of snacks and personal care products.
I have blogged about Mildred’s vegetarian restaurant before and visited many times over the years. Situated in the middle of busy Soho this restaurant offers fresh and hearty internationally inspired dishes catering for all tastes including, vegetarians, vegans and the health conscious. You can not make a booking but drop in and wait at the bar with a delicious drink until a table becomes available.
Gyoza is one of my favourite dishes. I followed these will a huge rainbow salad the perfect antidote for a weary traveller.