First stop on Bailey's Birthday London Eating Adventure...? Why OTTOLENGHI, of COURSE!! As you probably know we are big fans in our house so it was an obvious for us to start our Saturday in London off with a delightful breakfast at one of the Ottolenghi establishments. After a little bit of research, we decided the best place for us to pop into would be the Notting Hill branch - it was the first Ottolenghi after all.
So keen were we that we arrived at the shop just after 8am! This was good though as we missed the crowds. We thought the interior of the shop was gorgeous - beautifully decorated for Christmas with a big wreath in the window and row upon row of mouth watering cakes, sweets, pies and treats.
We made our way down to the back of the restaurant where there was a nice big communal table with some relaxing music playing and the morning papers before being served by friendly staff. What a great way to start Saturday!
As for our breakfast, there was so much to choose from and knowing it might be a while before we will be able to visit Ottolenghi again made the decision quite difficult. In the end we decided to go for the simple option of some nice coffees with a croissant each - served with homemade jam and butter.
This turned out to be an excellent decision as we got to try all three of the Ottolenghi jams that were in front of us on the table with our croissant. The croissant was delicious - by far the best croissant I have ever had in England - deliciously fresh, crispy and flaky on the outside, buttery and soft in the middle. Mmm. I absolutely covered mine in the jams which were also gorgeous. There was a lovely raspberry jam, a really unusual spiced plum jam and a delicious apricot and passion fruit jam. All amazing! Even the cappuccino was outstanding - topped with a super thick, frothy layer of milk.
The whole time we were eating, people kept coming by with the most delectable-looking trays of freshly-made treats. So, after hoovering up every crumb of buttery croissant, we couldn't help but pick up a few provisions to take away with us. It would have been crazy not to if you ask me.
We then had a little nosy round Notting Hill and a stroll through Kensington Palace Gardens then stopped off for a mid-morning Ottolenghi picnic.
I had gone for a beautiful looking Tomato, Goat's Cheese, Pesto and Pine Nut Muffin which had instantly caught my beady little eye on the counter. It really was lovely, moist and flavoursome and I enjoyed every bite. I will definitely be checking my Ottolenghi book and also Plenty to see if the recipe for them is in there as it was gorgeous.
Bailey had ordered a slice of Smoked Bacon, Caramelised Onion and Italian Egg Pie. Bailey adored every bite of this - everything in the pie was so wonderfully balanced, thanks partly to the intricate layering of ingredients. He also said it was the best pastry he had ever tasted! At one point he turned to me saying "Jules," - and he paused. At this moment he looked at me in such a way that I thought he was so overcome with deliciousness that was going to shed a tear. He said: "I think this could be the moment for you to take a step away from vegetarianism..." So intrigued was I by this suggestion that I was literally about to do it - I had the pie in my mouth ready to bite at one point but I couldn't bring myself to do it in the end. I am sure it was delicious though.
And that was the end of our Ottolenghi adventure. Very sad and we're both quite annoyed at ourselves that we didn't buy more stuff but I think we were feeling a bit overwhelmed for so early on a Saturday morning. We will just have to organise another trip to London so that we can try some more delicious things. I have to say I knew that a trip to Ottolenghi would be amazing and I was not disappointed. Makes me wish I lived in the Big Smoke a little bit. Unless they decide to open up a branch up here... what do you think Yotam?! I think they would fit right in on Beech Road in Chorlton!