I love Israeli food and Ottolenghi is was of the first ones to bring it to London. He has several restaurants and I definitely crave his savory cheesecake at Nopi. So, when I heard his new spot Rovi was opening in Fitzrovia I immediately booked a table.
We were there 5 days after it officially opened. I tend to wait a bit longer to try new spots to give service and food time to get into the rhythm but I had friends in town and thought it would be fun to try together.
The menu was very veggie centric which I love and since there were five of us we got to try a lot.
We started with lobster crumpets with a kumquat and chili sauce. Individual portions of a piping hot denser crumpet topped with minced lobster. Very hearty and good.
Tempura stems and herbs with elderflower vinegar. Gorgeous presentation but very too much stems and not interesting enough.
Great tomatoes with cold yogurt, Urfa chilies and grilled bread was the best dish! The tomatoes were juicy and sweet and paired perfectly with the deliciously grilled warm bread. The cold yogurt had a creamy texture and melted in the mouth. We wiped the plate clean.
Runner beans with grilled nectarine, grilled goat cheese and smoked almonds had highs and lows. The dish could have used a much bigger portion of the delicious grilled goat cheese while the runner beans and nectarines were forgettable.
Tropea onions, whipped feta and green gazpacho. Hmmmmmm, once again the cheese part of the dish was very good, particularly paired with the good sourdough bread (much better than the pita) but the onions were stringy and not great. I would skip this dish.
Celeriac is my favorite root vegetable so when I saw the shwarma I got excited. But until after we all had the dish, we had no idea it was actually the celeriac as there was no taste of it. It looked like a little pocket with fried bits and served with an extremely hot side of fermented tomatoes. Stewart liked it but too spicy for my delicate palate.
Grilled fish with scotch bonnet sauce and corn flatbread. This is a massive portion of the tallest fish filet I’ve ever seen – they said it fed two but definitely feeds more. You are also meant to eat it like a taco but the corn flatbread is too small and thick so doesn’t work great. The fish was well cooked but some of us liked it and some didn’t care for it at all. Some bits of it were slightly dry but the middle was moist and flaky and paired well with the fresh herbs. The dry bits also got balanced by the smear of yogurt/crème fraiche on the plate. I was one of the ones who enjoyed it…..
Another dish that some liked and some didn’t was the onglet skewers with beef fat and fermented green chili. I particularly found it a bit chewy but the boys devoured it and no idea how the beef fat was incorporated.
Cranachan (pronounced Cranakan – Scottish dessert made from a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey and fresh raspberries) parfait with oat brittle and raspberries had interesting textures and was good but I am struggling to even write about it as it wasn’t memorable. The most memorable part is how much we all struggled to pronounce it….
Beetroot and chocolate fondant with crème fraiche ice cream was good but the beets didn’t shine thought. But still a well-executed molten cake.
Ricotta doughnuts with gooseberries and fresh elderflower were tasty. I am not a huge doughnut person (apart from the life changing ones at Sidecar in LA) unless they are served with Nutella or a crazy good ldipping sauce. But these didn’t have a dipping and had a cream center but were warm and fluffy and good.
So, some good dishes and definitely would come back and give it a second try. The ambiance was cute but the space is a bit large. I prefer the setting of other Israeli spots in London like Palomar and Barbary – small and intimate, where you can watch chefs cook when you seat at the counter -more fun and I nteractive.
In sum: tomatoes were amazing. Lobster crumpet tasty and would go back and try more. The drinks were delicious but took a long time but the watermelon G&T was worth the wait!
Rovi Restaurant London
59 Wells St, Fitzrovia, London W1A 3AE, UK