CondéNast Traveller announced the winners of its fifth annual Innovation and Design Awards, held in association with Marriott Hotels & Resorts. NOPI restaurant was delighted to receive the ‘Gourmet’ Award for its innovation and design by architect Alex Meitlis and Ottolenghi creative director Noam Bar. The award was presented by Loyd Grossman and accepted by Yotam Ottolenghi.
NOPI was chosen from an impressive shortlist which included Ferran Adria’s new bar in Barcelona ‘41 degrees’, Noma in Copenhagen, Viajante in Bethnal Green, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Ma Peche in New York and pop ups Studio East Dining and Hel Yes!.
The all-day dining venue, just north of Piccadilly Circus (hence the name), serves a cuisine blend that may be described as contemporary London: bold flavours and colours, broadly based on Mediterranean, Middle-eastern and Asian ingredients, using lots of herbs and spices. It is sunny food à la Ottolenghi, with its surprising combinations, conjuring both elegance and comfort. Nopi offer breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes that are mostly designed to be shared in a group but can also be eaten individually.
The environment echoes this mix of informal, familiar and familial. NOPI is a brasserie, but not in the conventional sense; there are the familiar materials such as marble, brass and wood, but they all appear in new and surprising combinations. It is airy, laid-back and relaxed, with no details overlooked. There is a lot of brass – the tabletops, bar tops, the light fixtures are a replica of an antique lamp from Jaffa’s flea market, while the 1920’s brass entrance doors are the original doors from Harvey Nichols.
The lower ground is a different dining experience altogether, though still serving the same menu. Here the diners are in the kitchen. Sitting on bar stools around large, canteen-style tables the chefs are visible and in fact walk around the diners to reach the dry store shelves running the length of the walls alongside the tables.