Places To Eat In London: Oldroyd, Islington
As it currently stands, ‘The List’, a, well, list of all the places I want to go and eat in London stands at 153 entries. There are already 175 restaurant reviews on this blog over the 8 years I have been writing it, and while I am lucky enough to be one of ‘those people’ who gets invited to review some places for free, I just eat out because I love it. However, as much as I’d love to spend all my money on eating out I still need clothes to wear and rent to be paid on my beautiful West London flat, so this year I’m going to make it my mission to try more of London’s set menus. Today we’re starting at Oldroyd in Islington where on a weekday lunchtime you can get three incredible, seasonal courses for the £19 one of them should really be worth.
The restaurant is small, with a few seats downstairs and a few more upstairs. We booked for a 1pm lunch and wile there were a lot of people there, it was not so packed that there was not space for walk ins too. There are typically three starters, three mains and two or three desserts to choose from each day, as well as a lunch special and a few add ons. We went for a delicious carafe of Sicilian white, but there are aperitifs, some excellent looking cocktails and a few house made soft drinks on the menu, too.
An add on(£3.50) but totally work getting is a generous plate of fluffy, fresh sourdough to share with a pat of house made anchovy butter. I have a thing for anchovy butter (especially made to slather on hot soldiers to go with dippy eggs) and this pat was excellent, somehow the flavour managing to be both delicate and punchy.
We both went in different directions with our starters. I was also going to have the lamb sweetbreads served with parsley, capers and a vinegar sauce, piled high on a slice of toasted sourdough too (these were incredible, simply melt in the mouth and stupidly addictive. Okay, so I may have been totally shameless with my reaching across the table and stealing!) but when I saw the salad arrive at the next table I just knew I had to have it. A base of good olive oil and pickled red onions held a bed of puntarenella, brilliantly orange blood orange slices (how is it I never get ones like this when I slice into one?!) and salty boquerone anchovies. It tasted as good as it looks, and made for a curious, refreshing start to the meal.
We both had the roast duck breast with pommes anna and watercress for our mains. The duck was perfectly cooked and stupidly succulent; you did not need the wonderful jus it was served with, and leave right now if you’re the type of person who would remove the wonderfully rendered and crispy piece of skin. The potatoes were utterly divine, both soft and crisp, and wonderfully and pungently flavoured with stock and thyme.
For dessert we both had the chocolate mousse (I instantly tasted it as the classic, 3-ingredient French recipe I use, but how on earth do they manage to get so much air into it?) covered with beautiful, delicate walnut shavings. It was the perfect end to the meal, a dessert that managed to be both very simple, and very elegant at the same time.
You’ll get something different whenever you go, but if you happen to be free on a weekday coming up, pencil in lunch at Oldroyd. However, if you’re tied into a regular 9 to 5 and you don’t want to miss out, of course you can still book a table for dinner (it would make a lovely cozy date night spot) and go a la carte. The food was amazing, and I’d happily go again and again.