The team behind author, restaurateur and chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s London empire has told Eater that a brand new restaurant, called Rovi, will launch in Fitzrovia in late June. It is the third brand from the Israeli chef — following his eponymous chain of cafe-restaurants and his more formal a la carte site, Nopi, in Soho. When it was first announced in November it was thought the site would open as a sixth Ottolenghi cafe-restaurant.
Rovi promises a different “feeling and character,” despite having the Ottolenghi ethos in it DNA. It will thus serve a menu principally centred around vegetables — but, the chef says, there will be “fresh focus” on fermentation and cooking over fire. Tropes, which at first glance, might suggest that Ottolenghi — so often at the vanguard of new trends — had turned follower. And yet, it is worth remembering that Nopi has been curing, pickling and fermenting for many years. And the restaurants have always positioned vegetables at the centre of their menus. It’s just that now both those things are something to shout louder about. And yes, there will be a “dynamic low-intervention” (natural) wine list with varieties sourced from small-scale producers, natch. Cocktails will be based on “seasonal spices.”
Neil Campbell, formerly head chef of Bruno Loubet’s Grain Store, has been appointed head chef and will be supported by Calvin von Niebel, the group’s development chef. Ottolenghi himself, together with his business partner Sami Tamimi will “take central roles” as executive chefs.
Some dishes (which will be available in different sizes) shared with Eater, include:
- Jersey Royal potatoes smoked on top of hay
- Hand dived scallops with cucumber kombucha
- Braised smoked carrots with puffed black barley and pickled herbs
- Kohlrabi ‘ravioli’ with peas, broad beans and yuzu kosho
- Slow roasted cauliflower with crispy chickpeas, tahini and fermented chilli salsa
- Hasselback makrut lime beets with lime cream
- Confit mussels with hay-smoked potatoes and cascabel oil
- Onglet skewers with beef fat mayonnaise and fermented green chillies
- Peaches grilled over fire
Inside the dome shaped dining room — which will be both “industrial” and “warm” with natural materials like pale oak wood and stone — there will be counter top seating in the front window reserved for walk-ins, while the main room will be centred around a large oval shaped cocktail bar seating 18 guests (for drinks or dinner.)
The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner; breakfast will follow in July. During the day time, there will also be a small deli with salads to take away and freshly baked cakes and pastries, for which Ottolenghi is so well-known across his other sites.
As for the restaurant’s suppliers: Fruit and vegetables will be bought directly from Brambletye in Sussex: a group of five young farmers cultivating biodynamic, organic produce. Shellfish will come from the Ethical Shellfish Company, a husband and wife team who hand dive for scallops, without waste or by-catch, around the Isle of Mull, of the west coast of Scotland.
Reducing waste will also play a central role at Rovi: Leftover wine will be used to make vinegars, and used coffee grinds will be used to cook dishes, like the hasselback beetroots. The air-conditioning and ventilation systems are designed so the heat generated in the kitchen is used to heat the restaurant and the water used on site.
The first new restaurant brand that Ottolenghi has opened in over six years — definitely one to watch this summer.