Rovi, London

5/02/2019 08:15:00 AM

Rovi, London

When we were in London at the end of last year, of course I had to fit in at least one Ottolenghi meal! I'm glad to say that it was lunch at his newest restaurant, Rovi.

59 Wells St
London W1A 3AE
Ph: +44 20 3963 8270

Ottolenghi's latest venture is a chic restaurant in Fitzrovia, that focuses on vegetables, grilling, ferments, and pickles. We were there on a Saturday for lunch - I had booked a couple of months in advance - and the restaurant was pleasantly busy.

We started with a couple of refreshing non-alcoholic drinks: a seasonal pressé for Sandra, and a "G & Teetotal" for me.

Seasonal Fruit Pressé - £6.5

The seasonal fruit pressé was a soda water served with fresh fruit juice - from memory it was clementine and raspberry - which you could mix as desired. The G & Teetotal was (obviously) a non-alcoholic take on a gin and tonic, a lightly sweetened citrusy fizzy number. We both appreciated the refreshing citrus flavours, and I liked that neither were too sweet. A great way to start a meal.

G & Teetotal - £5.5

Now, the food! We ordered four vegetable dishes between us (and a little bonus snacklet for me), which was a good amount. (We'd had a big breakfast so weren't overly hungry).

Tempura Stems and Herbs, Szechuan, mandarin and lime leaf vinegar - £7

The tempura stems and herbs reminded me of one of my favourite Thai dishes: deep fried battered water spinach. (Very moreish). Here, the crisply fried tempura herbs and stems were served with sour and numbing Szechuan peppercorns and a tangy mandarin and lime-leaf vinegar, which really livened up the tempura. Lovely!

Lobster Crumpet at Rovi
Lobster crumpet with kumquat and chilli sauce £8 at Rovi

Lobster crumpet! How could I not! Rovi's take on the classic Chinese prawn toast consisted of a sturdy and doughy crumpet was topped with a generous dome of lobster meat and coated in sesame seeds and (I believe) ground up seaweed. It was a luscious treat, although I do think that the combo does work better with a light and fluffy white bread. It was also just slightly on the oily side, although the kumquat and chilli sauce definitely cut through the richness. (I do like that idea of pairing deep-fried items with a bright citrus dipping sauce...)

Grilled onions with whipped feta, sage and green gazpacho - £8.00

The grilled onions were a celebration of allium. I liked the varying textures and flavours of the onion varieties (check out those char marks!), but I loved the sage leaves and whipped feta, which tied all the elements together.

Hasselback kaffir beetroot with lime cream and herb salsa - £7.50

I normally think of "hasselback" as a mixture of crisp and soft, but the hasselback beetroots were lusciously soft all the way through. They were also very well flavoured, with an oily herby emulsion all over (and absorbed into) the beetroot. Kaffir was called out on the menu, but there were many flavours going on - like dill, chilli and (I think) fresh ginger. I also usually don't like beet leaves as they have quite a prominent earthy flavour, but here with the lime cream and herby salsa the earthiness was tempered.

Celeriac Shawarma, bkeila, fermented tomato - £14.50

Of course we had to get the famous celeriac shawarma. Inside the crisp and fluffy house made pita were six-hour slow cooked celeriac, bkelia spinach sauce, fried onion and a heavy dusting of fragrant dry spices (primarily turmeric that I could notice), but for me, the star of the show was that fermented tomato and chilli sauce. It was one of the best chilli sauces I've ever eaten, with a wonderful flavour and a lovely hum of heat. I would buy bottles of this sauce!

Miso fudge, vanilla salt - £4 (for four pieces)

We were way too full to order a dessert, but the nice couple next to us gave us two pieces of their miso fudge with vanilla salt. We wouldn't have ordered these ourselves - for me, petits fours or mignardises need to be cakey or biscuity - but we were very appreciative of the kind offer! The savoury miso and salt did mellow the sweetness somewhat and provide interest, but these were still incredibly sweet. (I mean, it was fudge, of course it's going to be sweet). Definitely for someone with a very sweet tooth, and even so, I think these would be best accompanied by a strong espresso or an unsweetened tea.

Our meal in total cost £64.12, which I felt was quite reasonable, given the creativity and quality of the food, and the lovely atmosphere. Admittedly we didn't eat a huge amount or have alcohol - I'm sure this could have added up quickly if we were ravenously hungry and ordered more meat dishes, desserts, wine and cocktails, etc. (This is something I'm definitely keen to do on a future London visit!) However, I have read reviews from writers in London highlighting that the prices at Rovi are quite high, so of course I would take the word of London-based food writers who are well versed in the London food scene, over myself, a tourist and Ottolenghi-fan who was there for one night and was happy to splash out on a treat meal.

I very much enjoyed our meal at Rovi and am very glad we visited! I liked thoughtfulness put into the non-alcoholic drinks, and the wide variety of vegetables prepared in ways that were new to me, but also delicious. Service was lovely and the atmosphere was great. Definitely worthy of one of the few precious eating spots on a super-short visit to London!

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  1. I'm drooling here! Lobster crumpet? And all the dishes that I'd very happily eat right now :D

  2. Anonymous11:46 AM

    That lobster crumpet, I die

  3. Yum! It all looks so delicious.



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