Ottolenghi, W8 4NA
The information below is retained for historical purposes.
Although other branches in the chain (for example the Islington one) are cafe/restaurant style, this one is purely takeaway and has no seating (though the website claims there's a space for one person to sit at a counter, this wasn't extremely obvious on Kake's visit).
Some of the cakes and tarts on display face the window and can be viewed from the street (the downside of this is that it's not always easy to see what they are from inside, so you need to decide what you want before entering). Cakes are generally priced by the piece or by the slice, while savoury food is priced per 100g. They also do a few storecupboard-style bits and pieces such as granola, nut mixes, lavash, and anzac biscuits.
Kake visited on a Monday afternoon in June 2010, to get some bits and pieces for dinner that night. I went for the seabass marinated in soy sauce, lime, and mirin (£5/100g), the nut and seed crusted chicken served with honey and mustard sauce (£3.50/100g) and a small chard and goat cheese open tart (£3.50).
The flavours of the seabass dish weren't particularly complex, dominated by the soy sauce, though the sprigs of fresh coriander livened it up a bit, and I really liked the slices of soft, browned (confit?) garlic. The seabass itself was cooked just right, though sadly I found an overlooked bone in it, and for the price I was paying I would have preferred to have the skin taken off too. The chicken was tender without being mushy, again cooked just right, and the flavours and textures of the nut coating worked very well. The chard and goat cheese tart had an unexpected (and welcome) hit of chilli, and I also detected cumin seed, mustard seed, and I think black sesame, all of which served to lift this above other similar pastries I've tried.
Kake's verdict: Expensive! But I liked it. The care taken in choosing the flavours and seasonings was obvious, and the execution was above-average too. On the strength of this, I'd certainly be willing to give one of their restaurant branches a try.
Accessibility: Three steps up to get in, and it's quite small inside.