Last year I was 30, had a big party and went to Paris. The year before I ran the London Marathon ON my birthday. This year couldn’t really top either of those events so in order to celebrate turning the grand old age of 31 I decided a no fuss trip to a restaurant I have wanted to go to forever, with some of my friends who I’ve known forever (well, since High School) was in order. Readers of the blog won’t be surprised to discover I chose to visit Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant – Ottolenghi which is on Upper Street Islington.
I love this style of eating; Hot and cold sharing plates spread across large tables, all dishes made from some of my favourite ingredients which enable you to try a little of everything – all at once! A cacophony of flavours which seem to blend seamlessly yet stand out with exquisite flavour on the palate at once.
The waiter was incredibly helpful when we asked which dishes were gluten-free and marked them off on the menu. Since there were 7 of us, we were advised that 18-21 dishes would be the right amount to feed us. There were 14 dishes on the menu so we decided to order all but 2 of them and a few extras to get a taste of everything. Stand outs for me were the aubergine dish, lamb dish and the chorizo stuffed squid.
- Top: Grilled fennel with green olives, pistachio, feta, rocket and orange zest / Grilled marinated burrata wrapped in vine leaves with roasted red grapes and coriander seeds
- Middle: Char-grilled fillet of English beef with sweet coriander-mustard sauce / Seared lamb fillet with spiced peanut paste, anchovy and piquillo pepper salad
- Bottom: Golden beetroot with blood orange, pomegranate, cinnamon, watercress and mint labneh / My Cake!
Since I’m on a sugar and starch free regime at the moment I decided to make my own birthday cake as a treat. The restaurant were really obliging when I called in advance to ask if I could bring it along. Whilst I was in the ladies room the girls asked the waitors to bring out my cake with candles in it. The whole restaurant then sang to me. The idea of my own food being served in Ottolenghi’s restaurant kind of made my head spin a little! The carrot cake was a bit of a made up experiment and contained, carrots, coconut flour, butter, xylitol, cinnamon, ginger, topped with an icing made from cashew butter, coconut manna, cardamon and orange essence. Tasted fab but the texture was a bit dense. Definitely room for improvement, but since it was the only cake I’d eaten in months I was happy!
I booked the table about 2 months before my birthday – and only just got a table on a Wednesday evening so be wary if you want to go and visit on a whim. We paid £35 each, including drinks (but not including my pudding) which for a birthday treat was incredibly reasonable.
A really fab & special evening – thank you girlies. I will of course be going straight back there as soon as I can (maybe next time for brunch) for more tasting opportunities and inspiration for the adventures in my own kitchen!
Finally, just a quick reminder that I’m hosting my first pop up event – a Paleo & gluten free afternoon tea in Cafe Crema, New Cross, South East London this coming Sunday 12th May. It would be fantastic to see you there. All proceeds are going to charity – and tickets are available here. If you can’t make it I’m also hosting an on-line foodie & healthy living raffle (tickets just £1) with many fabulous donated prizes from well known healthy brands & local shops.