Ottolenghi co-founder: 'Sesame to fill London's Mediterranean street food gap'

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Noam Bar is hoping to bring street food he ate as a child in Israel to London with new venture Sesame
Noam Bar is hoping to bring street food he ate as a child in Israel to London with new venture Sesame

Related tags: Restaurant, Eating

Ottolenghi co-founder Noam Bar says Sesame, his new food-to-go concept opening this spring will finally bring street food from the Mediterranean to the masses.

Bar, who runs restaurant and food business Ottolenghi with Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi will open the new outlet in Covent Garden in April and is hoping to introduce the food he enjoyed as a child to London. 

"I've been thinking about the concept for years now," he told BigHospitality. "We now have some good Israeli restaurants in the UK, but we don't have anything that is fast food."

Sesame will serve a range of dishes designed to be eaten quickly or on-the-go, such as grilled meats wrapped in flat breads and salads, from its base in Garrick Street. It will open daily from 7am to 11pm and although it will have bench seating for up to 30, Bar said the emphasis would be on fast food with diners spending an average of £8 to £10 per head. 

Bar said: “We researched to find the absolute best dishes from around the Mediterranean, and mainly looked to re-create the flavours of our childhood: the generously-stuffed pittas bursting with flavours, the crunchy vegetables, still full of flavour, the tahini sauce running down our face and dripping on our school uniforms, much to the dismay of our mothers. These sunny, warm and vibrant flavours are what Sesame is all about. 

"It's food I fancied eating myself really, because the street food in Israel is fantastic and you can get it readily on every street corner, but it's nowhere to be had here in the UK. That was my motivation behind Sesame." 


Bar said although he was pursuing his new project, he was still very much part of the Ottolenghi business, which includes three Ottolenghi restaurants and delis as well as central London restaurant Nopi. 

"The Ottolenghi business is constantly growing and although the management structure is the same a lot of the time it is Cornelia (Staeubli, Ottolenghi director) who looks after it, it's really her baby now, so Yotam and I have more time to focus on other things. 

"But Ottolenghi is very much involved in Sesame too - our very talented chefs from Ottolenghi are behind this venture and have designed the menu." 

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