Monday, 9 September 2013

Ottolenghi's Deli

Ottolenghi's Belgravia Deli

A friend of mine used to always speak so highly of Yotam Ottolenghi when his vegetarian recipes used to be featured in The Guardian newspaper and as a vegetarian herself as well, she used to share his recipes with me so he’s been on my radar for a while.  

Ottolenghi, (as he is better known as), and his recent leap onto Channel 4 exposed him to a brand new audience which followed his culinary adventures in and around North Africa, the Middle East and Southern Mediterranean countries showcasing their different foods and the simplicity behind preparing these flavoursome dishes.
Delving a little more into Ottolenghi’s world, I noted that he has a number of deli-shops in London which I was really keen to explore. So, on a recent trip to London we decided to visit one of his shops and buy ourselves a ready-to-eat picnic.
Just a short walk from the world-famous Harrods department store, down on Motcomb Street, this charming boulevard of contemporary boutique style buildings painted white, is home to many wine bars and salubrious shops and towards the end is Ottolenghi’s Belgravia store. 

Ottolenghi's Window Display

The red, branded canopy frontage and the window dressed in a layered display of aubergines and lemons beckons you in.  Upon entry, this particular shop is quite bijou only allowing for a handful of people to be in there at any given time, but as most people pop by for quick purchases the turnaround is fast.  However, for those that wish to mooch or that have purchased food they wish to consume onsite, there is small seated area at the rear of the shop.  

Deli Platters
The focal point of the shop is the deli area where large, tiered platters boast a variety of different dishes which are purchased by weight, so you only pay for the quantity you want.  On the deli counter during our visit were:  Mixed Green Beans & Olives with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Orange Zest & Bread Crumbs -  Roasted Butternut Squash with Chilli Coriander and Spicy Mixed herbs and Baby New Potatoes with Wild Garlic & Sorrel.  Of course, I made sure our takeaway box was packed to the brim with a mixture of them all.

Cakes & Desserts

As well as deli food, you can purchase freshly baked bread and cakes, meringues and pastries.  I opted for one of the large meringues which was drizzled in raspberry juice. (Which when eaten was chewy, soft and a little crumbly – totally divine).

Raspberry Meringue

The shelves are packed with different condiments available to purchase such as chutneys, sauces and jars of sumac and za’atar.

Shelves packed with Ottelenghi's goodies
For true Ottolenghi fans, you can purchase signed copies of his cookery books such as Jerusalem (accompanying his TV series as mentioned above) which make for a wonderful gift – one for the Christmas list perhaps?

Takeaway Box

As our visit and purchases were in preparation for a picnic, the staff at Ottolenghi’s were able to provide disposable wooden cutlery and napkins.
Great food and great weather were the perfect combination for a picnic in nearby Hyde Park.  Our picnic pack was absolutely delicious and his combination of vegetarian flavours were amazing!  
I came away feeling totally enchanted with Ottolenghi’s and it was a real treat as a foodie to go in and sample a little of Ottolenghi’s magic.  With shops across London (including Notting Hill, Islington and Belgravia), when in the big smoke you are never too far away from one of his outlets, so pop in and purchase a picnic of your very own.

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