Leisure Fan Club - Ottolenghi

An Extremely Delicious Ottolenghi Tour of London

Welcome to what may be my most niche, on-brand blog post yet. (Well, with the possible exception of my Donna Sheridan cosplay guide.) It’s about the time I went to London and ate at every single Ottolenghi restaurant. Well, not every Ottolenghi restaurant, as his namesake deli has four locations and we only hit one of those (twice). But we did go to his three separate restaurant entities in as many days!

If you know me, you know how big a deal this is. But in case you don’t, here’s some background. Yotam Ottolenghi is an Israeli-British chef, and he’s my absolute favorite. His cookbook, Plenty, was among the first I ever purchased (based solely on the beautiful cover photo). The recipes it contained were vibrant, colorful, and exciting. They were also fully vegetarian, though I wasn’t at the time. These recipes were more involved than any I’d followed before, but they were also more rewarding. They’re a big part of why Ben and I got into cooking, and I think it’s safe to say they were a big part of our eventual shift to vegetarianism.

We now have four of his cookbooks, and we use them constantly. They’re not all vegetarian, either. Nope – he’s got plenty of meat dishes, and they’re also delicious. But the vegetarian ones were unlike any that Ben and I had had when we first started working our way through Plenty. They made vegetables exciting, and they made us realize that we could eat in a healthier, more sustainable way without sacrificing flavor.

So without further ado, I’ll take you on my weird, obsessive food tour of London.


Leisure Fan Club - OttolenghiFirst up was one of the Ottolenghi delis! This was actually our first stop in London after we dropped off our bags. It’s definitely the most casual of the three restaurants, but the food is beyond delicious. We ended up eating here twice, because after eating lunch, the dude at the counter told us that we absolutely had to stop by for breakfast as well, and who were we to say no?!

For lunch, we decided to split a selection of four salads. I believe their salads change pretty often, though don’t quote me on that. Ours were centered around sweet potato, eggplant, kohlrabi and butter bean, and they were all pretty great.Leisure Fan Club - OttolenghiBreakfast was a bit different. The first picture is a tofu scramble with harissa and rose, and the second is Ottolenghi’s renowned Shakshuka. Leisure Fan Club - OttolenghiLeisure Fan Club - OttolenghiTheir desert window is out of this world, so here’s some blackberry and anise friands.Leisure Fan Club - Ottolenghi


Leisure Fan Club - NopiNopi is a chic little dinner spot. It’s a great place to visit with friends, as the dishes are all small plates that are meant to be shared. The food was excellent, though a little familiar to us. Which… is to be expected, as we’ve actually made a few of their offerings at home. We went with another couple, so bear with me through this barrage of pics.

Burrata, apricots, verjus and coriander seeds:Leisure Fan Club - NopiRoasted beetroot, miso yogurt, preserved lemon and sesame:Leisure Fan Club - NopiRoasted aubergine (eggplant), almond yogurt, pickled red chiles and spiced almonds:Leisure Fan Club - NopiTruffle polenta chips (fries) with parmesan and aioli:Leisure Fan Club - NopiValdeón cheesecake with pickled beetroot, almonds and thyme honey:Leisure Fan Club - NopiChickpea pancake with spiced peas, tomato, pickled chili and yuzu:Leisure Fan Club - NopiMalt barley ice cream, date fudge, chocolate soil:Leisure Fan Club - Nopi


Leisure Fan Club - Rovi

Rovi is Ottolenghi’s newest spot. It’d only been open about a month when we visited! It’s said to be more veggie centric than Nopi, though they do offer meat and seafood. We brought an extremely carnivorous friend along who was a little hesitant about this bougie vegetarian meal, but he ended up loving it, which was pretty cool to watch. Of the three restaurants, I’d say this was the most unique. Usually you can tell when you’re eating an Ottolenghi dish, but that wasn’t really the case here. There was a huge focus on fermentation and fire roasting, which made for a very different set of flavors than you’d find at Ottolenghi and Nopi. It’s another upscale sharing spot, so get ready for another stream of pictures.

Butter beans covered in spices with an aioli sauce:Leisure Fan Club - RoviTempura stems and herbs with Szechwan pepper, elderflower vinegar:Leisure Fan Club - RoviCorn ribs (!) with apricot sauce and chipotle salt:Leisure Fan Club - RoviRunner beans with peach, goat’s cheese and smoked almonds:Leisure Fan Club - RoviHot tomatoes with cold yoghurt and Urfa chilli:Leisure Fan Club - RoviCeleriac shawarma with bkeila and fermented tomato:Leisure Fan Club - RoviPeas, broadbeans, chilli and garlic:Leisure Fan Club - RoviRicotta doughnuts, gooseberries, pine honey:Leisure Fan Club - Rovi

We ended up devoting most of our mealtimes in London to one chef. This may seem like it’d be risky or repetitive, but in actuality it was a testament to the versatility of both Ottolenghi’s cooking and vegetables in general. I came home inspired and excited to get back to cooking, and if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *