Going out to eat in London can sometimes feel exhausting. All the most popular places will either be full (if they take reservations) or have a queue out of the door (if they don’t). I’ve been trying to get into Trullo since it opened and, six months later, I’m still trying. So, unless you’re organised enough to plan such occasions well in advance it’s always wise to be prepared for disappointment.
But, sometimes, not planning can have its benefits too. My friend Angela and I had arranged to go out for lunch today as a treat for my birthday; since this year it falls on a Tuesday there’s not much chance of me doing much on the day itself. And, as ever, Trullo and St John’s Bread and Wine were not available (The Blue Hour’s mention of Eccles cakes and Lancashire cheese has me intrigued) so we decided to meet up in Highbury and then wander to find something.
Our walk took us past one of my very favourite places, Ottolenghi on Upper Street. I’ve only eaten there once before but I am obsessed with the gorgeous combinations they create for salads and their brilliant baking. And the first cookery book, which makes their magic seem accessible to everyone, is truly inspirational.
We might as well ask how long the wait is we thought, seeing the queue out of the door. And, huzzah!, the wait was for the bakery not for the restaurant. In ten minutes we were seated, glass of Prosecco in hand, gleefully toasting our good fortune. The food didn’t disappoint, the service was smiley and, bar a small sliver of glass on my coffee saucer it was a perfect and unexpected treat.