The gluten free blogosphere is all atweet with great reviews of Ottolenghi’s NOPI, and it’s clearly of some renown in the coeliac community as there were two other unrelated GF diners on our (rather cosy) shared table (although I had an inwardly prissy moment at one of our neighbours having ‘just a little bit’ of bread). The original Ottolenghi is a short walk from home, but the queues have always put me off even though they do a marvellous polenta cake, so I was looking forwards to a proper sit down at NOPI.
I won’t repeat the reviews of Gluten Free Mrs. D and others except to say that NOPI didn’t disappoint on the food front. The menu changes daily which is a great mark of a good restaurant – but does make it a little hard to excitedly anticipate your dinner in the preceding days. The standout dish was a light, fresh lemon sole with burnt butter, nori and ginger. Iberica pork was with a lovely much-missed satay style sauce and the aubergine was tasty – if unexpectedly served cold. Given my previous failures with quinoa I thought it was high time to try some done proper- unfortunately I’m still not a convert- nice, but ultimately uninteresting.
I was ready to be a grump when my reservation confirmation informed me that we had an allocated 2 hour time slot, but the service was excellent- attentive without being intrusive, filtered water without asking, and they even let us overstay our welcome. Being gluten free didn’t raise so much as an eyebrow hair- the only thing missing on the check sheet was a bread alternative.
A minor downside was that whilst I am, of course, dead on-trend, the shared tables were a little cosy, and ‘theatre kitchen’ was taken to new extremes (think ‘theatre store cupboard’). Otherwise loved the understated but warm decor and dazzling bathrooms that feel like being trapped in a kaleidoscope. Next time I’ll be more patient and book well ahead for upstairs.
Well done NOPI for making coeliac diners feel normal (only to be ruined by embarrassing my dad with the photo taking!) Just one problem- is it ‘no-pee’ or ‘noppy’? Try explaining that to a cockney cabby!
GF Ability: 9/10