Slick, polished and very white. Somehow, despite the clinical character, the eating room manages to be cosy and charming, a place to drag out brunch over a couple of hours and feel no pressure to up sticks anytime soon. The charming front of house staff set the tone for an elegant affair, handing you over to a waiter who, if you’re lucky, will throw in a free breakfast muffin as the lunch menu kicks in. This gesture is demonstrative of the general atmosphere at Nopi, European sophistication without the snobbery. Simply wonderful.
The sharing plate for lunch and dinner work out as satisfying but on the pricey side for something not massively filling. I’d recommend a Sunday brunch affair. Served till 1pm, they commit to calling it ‘breakfast’, a refreshing two fingers up to London’s obsession with the New York brunch. It is a concise menu that dresses up the classics beautifully; sausage and beans on toast becomes borlotti bean stew with chorizo and an ‘Italian’ egg. Scrambled eggs comes on focaccia and rice pudding is made with coconut milk. These portion sizes are just right, and keep in mind the richness of the food (unless hungover, your eyes will be bigger than your stomach). And the sparkling water was free, now that’s classy.
This is one of those dates that encourages you to have an early Saturday night, turn up bright and early in some sort of crisp cotton get-up and try your hardest to be engaging. It isn’t a boozy brunch, it’s the chance for them to picture you as a companion and an intellectual equal. When dates like this work they’re not boring, they’re the start of something wonderful.
It’s nothing like the new drinking brunches popping up around London, a level of sobriety is required. You can, however, ignore this advice and just be the inappropriate couple at the fancy restaurant; everyone needs a ‘how we met’ story with some impropriety after all.
0. If it already happened the night before, the likelihood is you’d be eating breakfast in bed right now. Make the most of this cerebral encounter, before you take it down a notch on the next date (which will almost definitely be at a shot bar).