Saturday, 21 August 2010

Ottolenghi review - Islington Upper Street delish

Address: 287 Upper Street, London N1 2TZ
Tel: 020 7288 1454
Nearest Tube station: Angel

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £15 pp
Service charge: N.A
Taste: ****
Service: ***
Ambience: ***
It must be the décor, the way food is being displayed. How else can you explain the throngs of people crowding to Ottolenghi along Islington’s Upper Street? I stubbornly refused to believe that there could be a remote possibility that the quality of the food could be a factor. I mean, who would be in the right mind to be left stranded in a poor semblance of a queue and only to leave with a small paper box of salads and £8.50 poorer?

It’s funny how we have never been to Ottolenghi for the past three years spent in Angel. I blamed it on its white façade that reminded me of Carluccio, which is about fifty metres along Upper Street towards Angel. It looks like ‘just another bakery’.


Things change when the Little One comes along. These days, our criteria for dining out has evolved quite a bit. Though price is still a factor, nothing else matters if a place is not child friendly. Does it have a toilet on the ground floor, walkways wide enough to accommodate a pram? Is it too noisy? Or even too quiet? Would the other fellow diners mind if the Little One decides to kick up a fuss? The list just go on.

Wife came across a post online (I can’t seem to locate it now) exclaiming how child friendly Ottolenghi is and that was enough for us. True enough, the staff was really helpful in guiding us the place where we can park the Little One’s vehicle. Naturally we felt much more reassured when we saw other parents struggling to have a meal with their infants and toddlers in tow as well. It’s not that bad, we’re not the only one desperate to get out of the house with a screamer.

Ottolenghi’s food displays is probably its main draw. Believe it or not, people actually walk in just to take some photographs of them. Strangely, I was actually denied permission to do the same when I checked with a waitress. Anyway, we opted for the safer breakfast menu instead.


The cinnamon french toast (£7.30) is the real deal. The one that I am more accustomed to back home is often hastily dipped in an inconsistent concoction of egg and milk before being pan fried. Ottolenghi’s version, with cinnamon sugar generously sprinkled on two thick yellow tinted toasts, complete with creme fraiche n mixed berry and Muscat compote. While I'm not a fan of creme fraiche, the compote with toast is simply out of this world.


Wife went for the salmon with scrambled eggs (£8.50) , which turned out to be a better deal. Fresh thinly sliced salmon topped with buttery scrambled eggs, a toast thrown in to add that much needed crunchiness with some salad leaves. It's literally a full meal on its own.

That breakfast, complete with drinks, cost almost as much as a dinner for two at some cheaper options along Islington’s High Street but we are thoroughly impressed. In fact, we returned the very next weekend for the £8.50 salad takeaway, which by the way tasted fabulous as well.

Ottolenghi on Urbanspoon

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Anonymous said...

using the name 'little one ' throughout is rather sickly saccharine - what's wrong with the word baby.

Islington hotels said...

don't get niggling. Ottolenghi is one of the best restaurants in London.

Food For Think said...

Ottolenghi is one of my favourite brunch places in London. Were you as impressed by the orangey colour or the scrambled egg as me?