A couple weeks ago I had a semi-surprise visit from a good friend from uni on his way home to LA. He is also a foodie and shares my love of brunch. Last time he was here we tried to get a table at Nopi, but we were too many. This time, though, it would only be the two of us, so I thought why not make a special event of it. As you may have noticed, I am a huge fan of Ottolenghi – both his cookbooks and restaurants – as well as a lover of shakshuka. So ever since I read David Lebovitz’s post on his brunch visit to Nopi, at which he had shakshuka and declared he ‘strongly considered skipping lunch, just to keep the taste of it in [his] mouth for as long as possible’, it soared right to the top of my list.
I will have to go back, because every item on the menu, while relatively short (thank goodness – I hate menus that take hours to read), sounds delicious. But, obviously, I had to have the shakshuka. Max got the scrambled eggs, Hansen and Lydersen smoked salmon, with focaccia. It was very good. The eggs were soft, but not too runny and the salmon – though there could have been more of it – was fantastic. My shakshuka also came with focaccia. I think it had been toasted on a griddle. It was great – crispy on the outside, but came apart when you pulled it with the ease of a good dough. It was well worth the wheat. Especially when it came to mopping up sauce in my pan.
There was a unique smokiness to the shakshuka, perhaps lent it by paprika and the smoked labneh atop it. It was not at all what I expected, but that turned out to be a good thing. As he does with everything, Ottolenghi puts his own touch to it and the result was delicious. My clean plate, or pan – since it was served smoking hot in its own pan – is evidence to this.