The Best Things Come In Small Packages | Oldroyd, 344 Upper Street, London, N1 0PD
When Polpo‘s chef director, Tom, went it alone to open Oldroyd, it was only ever going to be a great restaurant. However we possibly underestimated just how good it would be. London was going mad for it, critics loved it, those whose views we respect adored it, yet we’ve only just got there, almost a year later.
We’re glad we left it so long in a way, the hype was calming and tables easier to come by. Despite Oldroyd being one of the teeniest restaurants, you can book a table. So we did just that, early evening on a sunny Saturday.
Wandering around Upper Street with the sun beating down on us, it felt like we were on holiday. It felt even more like it once we were inside, we narrowly missed out on the outside table but that was fine because this place is really pretty indeed. Homely and sweet with gentle pastel colours, simple and understated but obviously very well thought out. As the restaurant is so small, every little bit of space has been cleverly utilised for storage and prep work (if you have a small kitchen take note).
Much like Polpo, some of the items on the menu needs a bit of deciphering, but it’s a very enticing read, a European feel but showcasing the best of seasonal British produce. The staff are brilliant and are on hand to help out/clear up the pepper I spilt from the very cute but rather impractical salt and pepper pots. Be warned, these little clay pots will not slide across the table.
After this embarrassing start, we kicked off with cocktails and nibbles – an Oldroyd Vermouth with soda (£6) bought back sunny memories of Madrid. Ade’s Wax-sealed Negroni (£8) was the drink he needed to reverse his hangover and start all over again.
The first thing we put in our mouths were Smoked haddock croquetas and sauce tartare (£3.50) not tartare sauce… We knew from that moment that we were onto a good thing – a very good thing. A warm fluffy centre, golden and crunchy on the outside – absolutely perfect, as was the fragrant homemade sauce (and I don’t normally go for the stuff). Next was Rabbit and dijon rillettes, pickled carrots (£6) the pickled carrots cutting through the sweet and delicate meat with precision.
Mains are all small plates, love ’em or hate ’em. We mostly love ’em, unless we both fall in love with a dish so much that it becomes a worry/argument/frosty journey home. This was the case with the Grilled octopus, squid ink risotto, monk’s beard and ramson aioli (£14.50) it was incredible but because of the limited portion size of octopus, it was even more of a bun flight. We very nearly ordered another but we’d already clocked dessert on the table next to us so we’re holding out for that.
The Lamb sweetbreads, peas and bacon (£9.50) didn’t look the prettiest of plates but who cares when it tasted so good. Gorgeous, succulent little sweetbreads in a creamy tangy sauce, the addition of bacon a genius move (when is it ever not?)
Ade suggested we shared one of the two desserts on offer, there was no way that was an option so we ordered both. The Tiramisu (£6) much like the one we had at Polpo many moons ago, so soft, so light and so creamy with a big wallop of coffee.
I’d been eyeing up The Yorkshire rhubarb and almond tart, rhubarb ripple Poco Gelato ice cream (£6) throughout the duration of our meal. It looked pretty heavy going but was actually incredibly delicate, I’ve said it already but I’ll say it again, it was perfect.
It was one of those very rare meals where we gave each other that look and we both just knew. From the decor, service, food and drinks it was faultless (lack of octopus aside, well there has to be one negative). Having worked under restaurant guru, Russell Norman for all those years, Tom has certainly learnt from the best. We thought they were going to have to kick us out, we just wanted to do it all over again and again and again…
344 Upper Street, London, N1 0PD
Telephone: 020 8617 9010
Monday – Thursday 12.00 – 23.00
Friday & Saturday 12.00 – 23.30
Sunday 11.00 – 21.30
The kitchen is open all day through & takes food orders up to 30 minutes before close. Between 16.00 & 17.00 they offer a select menu
Book a table online
Nearest station: Angel (3 mins walk)
We paid for our meal at Oldroyd (aside from a complimentary drink and snack), not that this would affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.