Chef Oren Goldfeld is an Ottolenghi luminary and his creative, colourful pedigree shows in his broad sweep of Greek dishes given a reawakening, then blended with eastern Mediterranean flavours and buzz ingredients including date molasses and poppy seeds. Inevitably there are sharing plates, though why not call them mezze?
Charred enough to be intrigingly smoky and scattered with roast walnuts for crunchy texture, the aubergine dish is a must, as are crisp goat's cheese fritters and the unexpected thrill of finding Jewish-style chopped chicken liver on the menu. Whipped feta, the smashed avocado of the moment, is silky, creamy and a gorgeous pistachio hue, topped with roasted pistachio and utterly addictive. Every mezze dish sounds appealing, even the okra. Main dishes are served in proper-sized portions – just as well as I wasn't keen to share my fall-from-the-bone meltingly tender beef short rib with unctuous sour-sweet date molasses.
Deceptively simple, grilled January King cabbage served on an Aegean-style tapioca with nutty lovage pesto makes a tasty accompaniment to mains or a stunning standalone vegan dish. Loukamades, or Greek doughnuts, are daintily sized (and manageable however greedily you've ordered) and alluringly drenched in honey and mountain tea.
Have faith in the wine suggestions of the charming, impressively informed staff, led by Lorraine Abrahams whom you may recognise from The Wolseley. The interior with three floors of seating is far more sophisticated than memories of earlier Charlotte Street tavernas. Opt for the mezzanine level for optimum comfort, settled comfortably among the amber and pistachio decor and unusually good art on the walls plus covetable crockery, strictly not for throwing.
|What||Ampéli restaurant, Fitzrovia review|
|Where||Ampéli restaurant, 18 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, , London, W1T 2LZ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Tottenham Court Road (underground)|
08 Feb 20 – 02 Apr 21, 12:00 AM