Ottolenghi Upper Street – The Rules

My second favourite place to eat in London.  Every thing I’ve ever eaten here has been perfectly executed and I’ve eaten almost everything, at least twice.  Come for breakfast, lunch or a cake – or dinner if it’s payday.  Ottolenghi uses herbs and spices so brilliantly, he elevates an ingredient as prosaic as broccoli into something stellar.  The food looks magnificent and bounteous and tastes better than it looks.
My Ottolenghi rules of engagement:
If you go to the Upper Street branch on the weekend, go EARLY or expect to queue forever.
Do not take a boyfriend whom there is any danger of you splitting up with at a subsequent date.  You do not want to scar Ottolenghi with the sadness of happy memories. 
But do go there with at least one other person, so you can try all their salads, and their cake (and, I suppose, vice versa…)
If you order bread, make sure you get cornbread in the selection – spicy, crumbly and slightly sweet – utterly delicious.
The broccoli is better than any broccoli you’ve ever had anywhere.  

Ditto the butternut squash, ditto anything with green beans, ditto the granola, home-made nutella and jams.  

Their banana jam made me un-hate bananas, temporarily.

At lunch, don’t just order the salads. 

 True, the salads are extraordinary, and any meat-eater would not feel deprived if they just ordered the salads.  But the meat and fish options are unmissable – particularly dishes such as rare beef fillet with horseradish, or lemony sumac chicken.

Take a cake home for someone you love – including yourself.  I can think of no greater expression of appreciation and affection than something sweet from Ottolenghi in a white paper bag.

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