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Monthly Archives: October 2010

  • Nopi, Oct 28th, 2010

    28/10: Building work has begun
    For the last few days we have finally been doing more than just demolishing. It’s a complex affair, with the electric people doing their stuff, IT theirs, plumbing, air-conditioning, extraction, lighting, gas, carpentry and so much more. Darek, our builder for 6 years (!), and his team have to tiptoe in between and get some “real" work done. Stewart, the project manager, is making sure all this is making some kind of sense.

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  • Nopi, Oct 26th, 2010

    22/10: More progress on the tasting front, with about ten recipes signed, sealed, delivered. The tension at the moment is between complexity (Scully, pictured trying his savoury cheesecake) and simplicity (Sarit and Yotam), but it isn’t real tension because we all work together so well (so far…). And we are not just saying this for the audience.

  • Nopi, Oct 26th, 2010

    Karl has been completely engrossed in one task over last 2 weeks - looking out for props and then emailing the pictures to Alex (www.alexmeitlis.com) for selection. The brief, as you can see, was brass. We don’t want to say much more but it’s all turning out pretty shiny.

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  • Nopi, Oct 20th, 2010

    20/10: Not wishing to sound smug but last night’s tasting at Ottolenghi, Motcomb St, was a knockout. Scully excelled, Sarit and Yotam couldn’t stop eating and Motcomb staff were asking themselves: “what did we do to deserve this?". Yum, squared.

  • Nopi, Oct 18th, 2010

    Oct 18th, 2010

  • Sydney re-visited

    So much was cramped into the three days of the World Chef Showcase, part of The Sydney International Food Festival, that I am not sure what happened when anymore. And the jet-lag isn’t helping much either. I can tell you that Sydney’s skies were more than welcoming on my second visit to this charismatic city in less than eight months. My assistant (and much more than that), Ling, and I spent our first two days pigging out on food without stopping. Dinner at Marque was unique, with beetroot and foie gras macaroon being the absolute highlight. Even better was lunch with Brad, Ex-Ottolenghi Islington, at Bodega tapas bar where sashimi Kingfish on toast with cuttlefish ceviche was king. The brawn (jellied pig’s head) was a good contender to the throne. Pastries were astounding, as usual, at Bourke Street Bakery and The Book Kitchen next door. On Friday all the big name chefs arrived and we were panicking a bit. We had to do all our prep in various kitchens and then trolley it all through the long corridors and massive lifts of the Star City casino complex, which is, literally, the size of a medium city. But the team, headed by Andrew North, was as helpful as can be, considering a massive group of big-egoed chefs were monopolizing their kitchens and staff, and all (almost... wait for labneh) went smoothly. On Saturday morning I could even have a quick peek at what others were doing, before getting on with our show, which was, so I’m told, a success. Phew... I demonstrated a baked red mullet, wrapped in Swiss chard, with chreime sauce, braised eggs with lamb, tahini and sumac, and quinoa salad with dried Iranian lime and labneh. A little drama of the yoghurt not draining quick enough to form a lebneh was averted by substituting with feta. Did it work? I did see some happy faces around. The line-up of chefs over the next couple of days was completely inspiring, but more so were the dishes they came up with. There isn’t enough space here to describe a fraction of all the stupendous things. The images tell half of it (Thanks to Crave Sydney International Food Festival and photographer Belinda Rolland): Very reluctantly and completely sleep deprived, Ling and I dragged our sorry little faces to breakfast on Harbour Bridge at 6am (!!) on Sunday morning. Despite the rain and the funny anoraks, it was well worth the agony. The site of this awesome construction lined with real grass and strewn with 6000 people all having their breakfast together was fantastic. Only in Australia! # After a quick Q&A session with Joanna Savill, the energetic and completely charming organizer of the festival (oh, and Melly brought me this mind-blowing watermelon and strawberry cake with roses and pistachios from Black Star Pastry), I rushed off to the Ivy complex, where Ling and I, along with a bunch of imaginative, mostly Lebanese and Turkish chefs, prepared (sort of, David O’Brien’s team at the Ivy was more than instrumental) a gala dinner for 200 guests. It was a sweet night, in many ways. After all the madness of the weekend all we wanted to do is take it easy. And easy we did. Lunch at cafe Sopra at Fratelli Fresh in Waterloo, walk in the botanical garden, Bondi beach, the fish markets and that’s it. Back home now. Sydney’s a sweet, quickly-blurring memory and so much to do...
  • Nopi, Oct 16th, 2010

    16/10: You know those little individual copper pans?
    Well, it seems like we managed to source some at a reasonable price. Planning on little casseroles for brunch (imagine shakshuka with a twist) and hearty concoctions for lunch (a take on fish pie)

  • Nopi, Oct 15th, 2010

    14/10: Crockery crisis and successful tasting
    The recent design changes - marble floor instead of rustic wood; lots of brass everywhere - has thrown the crockery attempts into disarray. The heavy, stone-like plates will have to be replaced by something finer and more elegant. Noam and Yotam are going back to Lindy (http://www.ceramicablue.co.uk) tomorrow to open up the discussion again, hoping she doesn’t despair of us. Sorry, Lindy, we’re back to fine, white china.
    Alessi baskets for bread and pastries were also unceremoniously rejected. Ayayayai. Cornelia was upset about the waste. She’s right!

    Oct 15th, 2010

    We made way more progress on the food front though, with Scully on top form. Scully, Sarit and Yotam managed to finalise three dishes. Tick, Tick Tick. Beef brisket fritters will go with a colourful Asian salad instead of remoulade:

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    Heritage tomatoes are hiding a rich mascarpone and and mixed herb concoction and topped with other surprises.

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    And the highlight that, alas, didn’t yield great photos was the rolled lamb neck with anchovies and more. You would have wanted to be there!

  • Nopi, Oct 8th, 2010

    8/10: Choosing the materials
    The architecture is preactically finished. We know where the walls will be. It took a long long time, because there are so many elements that have to fit with each other: food lifts, ventilation, water, electricity - they are all entangled. The next stage: interior design. Alex Meitlis, the architect, who’s also a good friend, is here in London to choose the materials we’ll use for finishes. We know we want white tiles on some of the walls, but we want them “butt-joined" - with as little grout as possible. So Darek laid some as a test for us to see. Next, choosing the floor - it has to fit the tiles! In the end, we actually went for amazing looking marble… can’t show this, it must be kept as a surprise!

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  • Nopi, Oct 5th, 2010

    5/10: The previous incarnation

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    Shaun Clarkson ID were the designers of the previous incarnation, The Club Bar and dining. They very sweetly sent us some pictures of the old place. There’s something both beautiful and cruel about the rise and fall of restaurants: people put their heart and soul into a place, and a few years later other people come round, demolish all you’ve worked for so hard, and start afresh…

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