On our last day we headed to NOPI, Yotam Ottolenghi's outstanding restaurant on Warwick Street and my happiness index shot through the roof.
Day Three, Sunday. Lunch
Ottolenghi is a Jerusalem-born, London-based chef and restauranteur with multiple bestselling cookbooks under his belt.
We started by sampling two biodynamic, organic wines - also known as orange wine - but unfortunately didn't take a photo. First of all they're not made from oranges as the name might suggest! They're made from white grapes using no additives whatsoever, not even yeast, so they taste very different to regular wines. The first "A Demua" from Italy, was wildly acrid tasting, like bitter orange rind or sourdough. The Spanish "Tinajas De La Mata" was fruiter and tasted more like a fruit beer with a slightly nutty undertone; sweeter and definitely more drinkable but still a little sour. They're not very pretty to look at either - orange in colour, cloudy with sediment floating around the glass like sand. A very acquired taste! I'll definitely have another try at some stage but for now I can safely say that I don't like orange wine.
So we went for our old reliables and after that everything was divine!
There's a range of delicious looking cocktails to choose from too...
Including Corriander & Ginger Martini - vodka, lime, fresh ginger and corriander. Saffron Chase - gin, Champagne, elderflower liqueur and saffron. All making our mouths water as they were being prepared beside us.
For lunch we ordered a selection of small plates.
I decided on buratta with red clementine, drizzled with plum wine and garnished with coriander seed. Oozy and creamy like all good burattas should be and perfectly complimented with slices of clementine.
And twice-cooked baby chicken with lemon myrtle salt and chilli sauce on the side. Succulent chicken with layers of flavour including Chinese five spice, lime, ginger, orange, chilli, cove, and sweetened with maple syrup... Un-be-liev-able.
Chris chose red mullet with mustard seed potatoes served in rasam - a light soup made with cumin, garlic, black pepper and tamarind.
And Rachel went for the seabass and pistachio sambal with brown shrimp spiced butter.
We shared a lively side of green beans cooked with shiitake mushroom, miso and freekeh - a cereal made from green wheat. So tender, fresh and vibrant.
And a heavenly bowl of melt in the mouth Parmesan coated polenta chips served with the most delicious garlic and truffle aioli. I really hope the recipe's in his cookbook!
Such a lovely way to spend an afternoon before we flew home.
A fantastic trip with fantastic friends. Happiness? Officially off the chart!
NOPI, 21-22 Warwick Street, London
All available from Amazon, and all going on my wish list!