Oldroyd is the first solo restaurant from Tom Oldroyd (ex chef director for the Polpo group) and it’s based on Islington’s Upper Street – not a road exactly known for its culinary delights.
It’s a super cute restaurant; downstairs has an open kitchen and a cafe-vibe (available for walk ins) and upstairs the cosy dining room takes bookings – hoorah! It might be small (and a little hot) but a clever arrangement of tables meant we didn’t feel wedged in.
We started with some smoked pork belly and pea croquettas (£4) which were the perfect blend of gooey and crisp. A good dollop of truffle mayo over the top was a rather wondrous addition. Some Cornish seaweed and cider salami (£4) from Cannon & Cannon was really fatty (in a good way) but a little too tangy for me.
Lamb and almond meatballs (£7.50) came drenched in a romesco sauce so good I would have gladly eaten it on its own. Crab tagliarini Provençal (that’s easy for you to say) with a brown crab rouille (£9) was probably my favourite dish but it was difficult to choose. Impressively thin ribbons of pasta studded with crab in a buttery sauce was the best thing I’ve eaten…ever.
Squid, confit rabbit and broad bean paella (£11) was made even more indulgent by the accompanying aioli. The flavour was nothing short of magnificent; and rabbit with squid (both cooked to perfection) is a combination I wish to repeat regularly.
A salad of peach and cow curd panzanella with broad beans and mint (£8) was just the most wonderful combination of flavours. Huge croutons doused in olive oil added some texture to proceedings.
A side of Zucchini fries (£3.50), which I often find far too sickly, were so thin, light and crisp you’d be hard pushed not to finish the lot. And then another lot.
For pud, a scoop of sour cherry sorbet (£4), which was sweeter than expected, and a chocolate mousse with salted pistachio and raspberries (£6), which was easily the best chocolate mousse I’ve tried, was the perfect end to a brilliant meal.
Oldroyd reminded me of the first time I went to Polpetto above the French House; it had that same exciting energy with food that you would gladly eat every day – at such great value too. It’s amazing such a small kitchen can produce food that good.