Yotam Ottolenghi, the brilliant chef and unofficial saviour of British dinner parties since ~2008, looks to be in discussion for a sixth site in Fitzrovia — as reported by Big Hospitality.
Ottolenghi, who has four sites under his eponymous deli/restaurant in Islington, Belgravia, Notting Hill and Spitalfields, as well as NOPI in Soho, has applied for a license at 59 - 65 Wells Street, W1A 3AE. This is yet to be approved, but a 4,500 square foot site on the same development is listed as pre-let.
After its inaugural opening in 2002, Ottolenghi’s concept, headed up by himself and Sami Tamimi, spread rapidly across London. Bringing both a cuisine — Israeli and Middle Eastern — and a style — vegetable-focussed, unorthodox flavour combinations eschewing the boorish protein + side model — previously unfamiliar to the capital, Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s shared “incomprehension of traditional British food” can be credited for switching a nation on to a new kind of cooking and eating. If tahini, za’atar, sumac or pomegranate molasses have been spotted on a small plate lately, and they have, then Ottolenghi is probably one of the (possibly unconscious) inspirations. Indeed, most noticeably at the original site in Notting Hill and storefront at Islington, even the presentation of food — clean white dishes filled with loud colours piled high — emphasises the limitations of assigning roles to components in dishes.
Such is Ottolenghi’s popularity that a new bricks-and-mortar site is likely to be a win, even as others struggle; all that remains is exactly when, or whether, it will open.