Virtually everyone I know has an Ottolenghi book or two in their kitchen. My favourite is the first – the eponymous Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, a gorgeous tome with recipes that are surprisingly straightforward and page after page of stunning images.
A new Ottolenghi deli has just opened in Spitalfields and I popped in last week, planning to buy some treats. But when I spotted an empty table in the corner I couldn’t resist changing my plans, grabbing a seat in double-quick time and ordering a flat white and a pain au chocolat. They were, of course, divine, but they also gave me the chance to admire the new 70-seat restaurant and bar – a sleek oasis of calm, with a pale wooden floor, long white tables and huge vases of flowers that looked like they’d been picked from a country garden that morning.
This being Spitalfields, the place had its fair share of men with hipster beards and check shirts earnestly talking about “growth strategies.” But just like the three other Ottolenghi delis (in Islington, Notting Hill and Belgravia), the staff here are friendly and helpful, the service is efficient and the ambience second to none.
As I left I remembered my son declaring that Ottolenghi’s brownies are the best in the world so on my way out I added a brownie for my chocolate-addicted husband to the bill and went on my way, making a resolution to fix as many meetings in Spitalfields as possible from now on.
PS. The fashion world is a bit bonkers but are fashionistas really prepared to pay hundreds of pounds for a pair of espadrilles? Well apparently they are. Chanel is selling a pair – with its iconic C logo on each toe – for £340 while Valentino is offering a studded version for a cool £580. If you’re keen to snap up the summer’s hottest shoe let me give you a tip. Our local supermarket in France is selling espadrilles in every colour under the Provencal sun. The price? Seven euros.