The Lady Ottoline

Bars and pubs, Gastropubs Holborn
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The Lady Ottoline

Note: As of January 2015, The Lady Ottoline has been taken over by the Affinity Bars and Restaurants group, which also owns Newman Street Tavern, The Princess Victoria and The Henry Root. The Time Out Eating and Drinking Team 

This upmarket gastropub is part of the small Noble Inns stable that includes the Princess of Shoreditch and the Pig & Butcher in Islington. All three have a commitment to drink as well as food, with space given over to drinkers and a selection that runs from cocktails and real ales (four on rotation at any one time) to a thoughtful wine list.

Food is served in the ground-floor bar at the Lady Ottoline, but for a more sedate meal, it’s best to dine in the pleasant first-floor room. The menu is a bit more adventurous than most gastropubs – witness a starter of braised lamb’s tongue, sweetbreads and sheep curd – and ingredients are carefully sourced. Grilled sardines (a special) were fabulously fresh; also excellent was a creamy rabbit pie with toothsome pastry, and a robust starter of ham hock ballotine. A side of chicory and pomegranate salad was worth every penny of its £3.50 price tag. Less compelling was fish cake with poached egg, béarnaise and fennel salad.

The kitchen can turn out quality puddings too, in this case marinated blood orange with white chocolate, and vanilla panna cotta with mulled figs. The latest addition to the group is barbecue specialist the Smokehouse, also in Islington.


Venue name: The Lady Ottoline
Address: 11A Northington Street
Opening hours: Mon-Sat noon-11pm; Sun noon-5pm
Transport: Tube: Russell Square or Chancery Lane
Price: Main courses £13.50-£18. Meal for two with wine and service: around £80
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Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Had a stunning lunch with 2 old school friends. I had the most gloriously ethereal but flavoursome cauliflower soup, which almost floated in its bowl and was dressed with a touch of curry oil. My companions both had what they described as the best Scotch egg ever. We all had the game pie: beautiful crust, with meats sensitively seasoned and hinting of juniper. The other 2 followed up with gorgeous-looking traditional puddings, while I had an amazing blackberry sorbet. The wine list is most interesting, and we chose a rather obscure Spanish red from old vines, which was revelatory and remarkably good value at £29. Very bliss it was indeed to be alive in Bloomsbury that day! Service was first class. I really can't recommend too highly.

I had a very disappointing evening in this restaurant. I made a booking for a night out with my friends coming all the way from the other side of the world after saw the reviews and stars time out gives to this pub. I'm sure it's a lovely pub you can spend great time with your friends but food in general was a disappointment. Over seasoning, dishes are salty even mash was very salty and together with salty sides and main, you can't taste other thing apart from the taste of salt. The only good dish we thought was the butternut squash risotto, that was nice, but that's it. Left with disappointment. Don't think I'll ever go back for food. But again I might be just unlucky.

I'm not a foodie, so I'm unused to food putting me into a mood, but after a lousy start to date night, I wasn't in high spirits when arriving at Lady Ottoline. But after the superb food and service and charming atmosphere, I couldn't help but leave content and glowing. The Caesar salad is outrageously good- thick bacon, tender chicken, a poached egg atop and homemade-tasting dressing. It was packed with perfect textures and flavour - not a wimp's salad! My partner said his angus burger was the best he'd tasted and I even cheated on my vegetarianism without regret. This place is one of those little havens that you're proud of yourself for finding- it feels like a hidden gem. Let's hope it stays that way and keeps its unpretentious and charming atmosphere.

Went here for a friends birthday and it was great. Had a large table in the pub for Sunday lunch and we were looked after so well. The roast I had was fantastic and the service was friendly and attentive. Can totally recommend.

I liked everything about this restaurant (I got a table in the pub area). The food was excellent and the staff was so warm and helpful. They especially were great to let me try several different wines (and ultimately suggesting a moderately priced Nero d'avola) that complemented my meal perfectly. Great experience and even though I am in London for work for only one more week I am definitely going back before I head home to the states.

Went here for dinner last night and it was great. Staff where friendly and attentive and the food was delicious. We had salmon and partridge to start and lamb rump and sausage casserole for main. Can highly recommend all of them. Will definitely be coming back.

Sadly it's going downhill after a great start. 5 visits to the Lady O since opening, my first 2 visits in nov were fantastic, albeit small portions. At the 3rd, we left after waiting an hour without food. Staff were v aplogetic. At the 4th, the food was average. the 5th yesterday was terrible – pork belly arrived 90% fat, white & wobbly, barely browned on the top – surely it should have been cooked slowly to render down? A replacement dish of venison casserole was more like a venison soup with just 2 drizzled small pieces of meat in it. The decor & service are great, but food that's now worse than brewery gastropub chain? I hope they replace the chef, otherwise I doubt they'll last long.

Beautiful experience, great staff, great food in an elegant setting. Went there New Years Eve, based on recommendation from Time Out and other sites. Travelling from US, they made every effort to get in touch with us when there were questions about the reservation, making sure our NYE plans were kept. All in all a fantastic experience for us.