Oslo Court has quite an unusual location; on the ground floor of a block of flats in St John’s Wood. It’s been in the Sanchez family for over thirty years now and they do things the old fashioned way – there’s no website and there’s certainly no Twitter.
Things are similar inside too; if you like the 70’s you’d feel right at home here. The peach tablecloths, peach candles, cream walls and blue carpet looked like they hadn’t changed from when the restaurant opened. It strangely didn’t feel tacky though – we found the place totally and utterly charming. It was packed too, with a great atmosphere filled with lively chatter.
Reaffirming the 70’s vibe some Melba toast complete with a dishful of butter curls started things off. Next was a little white roll with a warm garlic butter centre.
Then it was the crudités, which got a little snigger from us as they were put down; this was proper old school stuff!
It was a prix fixe menu priced at £42 for three course which wasn’t particularly cheap. Alongside the menu (which was laminated and stuck in a leather case) our waiter also recited an equally long list of specials.
To start I went for the coquille st Jacques. It was a humungous portion which was fine by me. As well as featuring the expected scallops (which were plentiful) there was also some prawns thrown in for good measure. The sauce was creamy and the mashed potato topping had crisped up beautifully.
My gentleman companion was slightly less bowled over with his Crab a La Rochelle. It was basically a crab pasty served with a generous dollop of Marie Rose sauce. It was pleasant and more than edible, but not particularly exciting.
For main I went with one of the specials; beef Wellington which had an unmentioned surcharge of £2.50. It was by no means perfect (the pastry had soggy bottom issues) but it was totally delicious. The beef was cooked medium-rare and the two thick slices of it left me more than satisfied. It was also drenched in lashings of thick gravy.
My gentleman companion opted for the Princesse of Oslo Court (I wonder who she is) which was chicken breast in a creamy white wine sauce. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the sauce, filled with onions and mushrooms had plenty of flavour. Simple and filling.
The vegetable accompaniments (£1.50 per person) were dished out silver service stylee by the waiters which was a nice touch. Battered courgettes, steamed and creamed spinach, cauliflower cheese and roast potatoes all featured in generous amounts. There was also a bowl filled with thin potato fries that were very crispy indeed.
At this point I was seriously full but I couldn’t resist ordering a dessert. Neil, who was in charge of the dessert trolley, was possibly the most flamboyant man we’ve ever encountered (and we’ve encountered a few in our time) – he was a real character!
The lemon meringue pie was everything you’d hope for; tangy and sweet with the lightest meringue topping. The crepe Suzette sadly wasn’t lit on the fire at the table due to the low ceiling (I reckon they’d have been all right though). The pancakes were however perfectly made and the orange sauce that covered them was sweet and sticky.
The staff, atmosphere and surroundings (however dated) at Oslo Court made the whole experience a totally unforgettable one. Fair enough, the food was neither the cheapest nor the best we’ve ever come across but we left feeling nothing but love for the place. It’s somewhere that everyone should go once in their life…