Glass dines at Rovi – the finest food in Fitzrovia, London

THE BRITISH dining scene would look significantly different without Yotam Ottolenghi. Rightly considered a national treasure, the Israeli-born chef and food writer has been dazzling us with his Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine for some two decades now. In 2002, his eponymous delicatessen Ottolenghi launched in Notting Hill, with its inventive salads and flavoursome bakes, making way for a cult following that led to the opening of further delis around the city.

Having cornered the freshest fast food on the market, Ottolenghi’s attempt at formal dining showed up as an elegant brasserie, Nopi, which has been feeding Soho diners since 2011.

Burrata RoviBurrata at Rovi

The restauraunteur’s newest kid on the block occupies a quiet street in Fitzrovia and is likely to be the finest food you will eat in the area. Launched in the summer of 2018, Rovi is a relative newcomer yet has become a firm neighbourhood fixture in this lovely spot just north of Oxford Circus.

Described as vegetable-centric, the menu at Rovi is a lively mix of all kinds of things, and cooking over a fire, as well as a reliance on fermentation, are two primary sources for the chefs here.

ROVI Interior Adam LuszniakThe dining room at Rovi

Seated in what is a magnificent dining room, framed by stunning red and black interiors, and a grand circular bar at its centre, it was difficult not to feel like we had entered the buzziest restaurant in London. Rovi is clearly a social spot and the 90-seat space was filled to the brim on an early Wednesday evening.

octopus at roviOctopus at Rovi

We started with some house-made kombucha, delightfully tangy, and which was used to counter the rich saltiness of the terrifically crisp vegetable tempura that couldn’t have been more moreish. From the section of smaller plates, we chose the celeriac shawarma, which anecdotally has become something of a legend on the menu and is always on offer.

It was certainly a treat, with the nutty root vegetable being cooked into something that was meltingly soft and sweet. The lamb koftas arrived looking jubilant in a glowing onion gravy – and they tasted truly wonderful. 

Pumpkin RoviPumpkin at Rovi

One other thing to mention is that the portion sizes at Rovi are pleasingly large; in fact, really rather generous. Given this fact, we could have happily stuck to the small dishes but it would have been wrong to not try Rovi’s famed mackerel. The whole fish was dressed in a tangy turmeric sauce that complemented the unctuous oiliness of the flesh, and looked stunning spread out in full across the plate. The halibut with greens was on the lighter side and seemed to be reaching more towards Mediterranean flavours. 

Put simply, Rovi is light shining brightly in Fitzrovia. A return visit will be imperative.

by Derby Jones

Rovi, 59 Wells St, London W1A 3AE

To book a table at Rovi, call: 020 3963 8270