Oldroyd review: “Dining out on grown-up comfort food”
- Credit: Archant
“We’re all hobbits at Oldroyd,” jokes our waiter, Fabrizio, as my companion and I shoehorn ourselves into an upstairs table for two, laden with post-Christmas sales shopping and the layers of outerwear required to brave both storm Frank and the boutiques of Upper Street.
Luckily the tiny restaurant has come up with various ingenious solutions to its small size, including a canny table layout that allows for a surprising number of covers over two floors, and a relaxed friendliness that inclines to make diners feel as well-disposed and forgiving towards the restaurant as if in a stylish friend’s flat.
Our coats and bags are whisked away and we settle in with a welcome glass of chilled cremant to peruse the sparing set lunch menu.
The restaurant’s evening offering is a small plates affair, unsurprising given owner Tom Oldroyd’s former career as chef director at small plates pioneers Polpo. The three-course lunch menu dishes are still shareable but are served as individual meals, ideal for a less leisurely occasion.
We start with cider and seaweed saucisson, which is intriguingly redolent of the sea until subtlety is overpowered by cornichons.
You may also want to watch:
Mackerel pate is served spread on a halved slice of sourdough toast, the casual presentation compounding the overall sense of eating at a friend’s house. It’s a friend who knows how to blitz up a mighty fine mackerel pate though, with the emphasis firmly on the savoury fish flavour.
A plate of prawn and fennel risotto with four fat browned prawns sitting on a pool of saffron-coloured rice follows, alongside a dish of pork rib eye with lentils and salsa verde.
- 1 Man jailed for rape of young girl in north London 40 years ago
- 2 Helen Anderson: Finsbury Park murder victim's father pays tribute to his daughter
- 3 Police looking to speak to man in connection with sexual assault
- 4 Home of the metre-long pizza opens in Finsbury Park
- 5 Mem and Laz Brasserie voted as readers' favourite restaurant
- 6 Spot the '90s pop stars in the Never Mind the Buzzcocks identity parade
- 7 Disused Holloway garages converted into garment-making workspace
- 8 Kacem Mokrane: Islington man amongst seven charged with 2017 murder
- 9 'Proper old Islington boozer' voted best pub by readers
- 10 Trevi Ristorante scoops prize with readers' votes
Both are comforting dishes, warming and wintry, but neither feels too heavy for lunch. The pork in particular is juicy and savoury, but the salsa verde gives it a freshness that reminds you that spring is just around the corner.
More winter comfort food finishes the meal with a bowl of orange, honey and pine nut rice pudding – nursery food for grown ups, with a faintly historical air suggested by the Christmassy nuts, raisins and orange scent.
The menu’s wholesome fare is well-suited to lunch and our meal was certainly not extortionately priced. But the food and presentation on our visit erred a little heavily on the homespun side compared to our expectations of the stylish restaurant setting.