ROVI, London

I am a big fan of Yotam Ottolenghi and have visited his restaurant Ottolenghi in Islington and Spitalfields, as well as Nopi in Soho, all of which I love.  So I was excited to learn of his new opening in Fitzrovia a stones throw from Oxford Circus – Rovi. As with all his offerings the focus is on vegetables and small plates, but this time fermenting and cooking over fire play a large part in the dishes.

The restaurant hosts an open kitchen, where you can see all your dishes being flamed on the open fire.  The menus and tableware are all custom made for the restaurant and are vibrant and engaging.

Naturally, we started with a couple of cocktails from their small but perfectly formed cocktail menu.  I went for the ‘Lucky Dip’ a tasty mix of Orange infused Ketel One vodka, elderflower, seasonal fruit shrub, honey and my dining partner had a ‘Lapsang Old Fashioned’ – a twist on a classic cocktail made with Bulleit rye whiskey, lapsang tea and bitters. Since there was a ‘with Drinks’ menu it only seemed right that we have the Crumpet Lobster Toast with Kumquat and Chilli Sauce while we looked at the menu.

Narrowing down our choices from the menu was hard, the recommendation given to us by our waiter was about 2-3 plates per person, so we went the five plates, knowing we would want dessert!

I had spied the Corn Ribs with Apricot Sauce and Chipotle Salt on Instagram, so I knew they were a definite!  Having a love of Onions and Feta Cheese, it had to be the Grelot Onions, whipped Feta and Green Gazpacho next along with Peas, Broadbeans with Chilli and Garlic. For the more ‘main course’ type plates we introduced some meat!  The Beef Onglet Skewers with Beef Fat and Fermented Green Chilli were delicious and you could taste that lovely flavour of them being cooked over an open flame. Our other ‘main’ was a Celeriac Shawarma with Bkeila and Fermentated Tomato, which was unusual but very tasty, again with that nice flavour from the fire.

Of course we had room for dessert – again I had spied the Ricotta Doughnuts with Gooseberries and Pine Honey on Instagram so they were a must!  We also went for the Ottlenghi Brittle – two types, a Salted Caramel and Hazelnut and a Raspberry and Pistacchio, both tasty, and there were so much we were able to take the rest home to enjoy later!

I loved Rovi, another great addition to the Ottolenghi restaurants, I just love how he makes eating vegetables so tasty!