Oldroyd

Restaurants, Contemporary European Angel
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(8user reviews)
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A new restaurant from Tom Oldroyd, formerly Chef Director for the Polpo group.

 

Hands up if you haven’t heard of Polpo. Didn’t think so. This wildly successful group played a starring role in popularising small plates when it opened in 2009, inspired by Venetian cooking. Now it has six branches and three offshoots under different names.

Tom Oldroyd was a chef-director at Polpo from the beginning. When he opens the first restaurant under his own banner, you know it’s probably going to be worth a visit. Now that I’ve been there, I would say it’s worth two visits so you (and a couple of pals) can eat everything on the brief menu.

The menu isn’t the only diminutive object at Oldroyd, which is located a couple of minutes away from Camden Passage market. It’s a dinky place (40 covers), with space downstairs for just a few tables and a kitchen that’s smaller than many a domestic kitchen.

If you’ve eaten at Polpo, you won’t be surprised by the high-impact flavourings and combinations. But here the menu draws on France and Spain as well as Italy. A lively take on panzanella (Tuscan bread salad) brought fresh curd, broad beans and a perfect peach into the picture. And more conventional dishes were no less dazzling. Radishes with smoked cod’s roe made a stunning nibble (£4). Best of all was deeply flavourful paella of squid, rabbit and broad beans, at £11 the most expensive dish we ate.

Wine prices on the (dinky) wine list start at £22. Cheese is the priciest pud, at £7. The brunch menu ranges from £7 to £9, and heavenly iced tea is £3 per glass – plus a top-up jug when that’s finished. This is all by way of saying that Oldroyd does not gouge his customers.

One serious caveat is needed about the upstairs room, which is easy enough on the eye, with its walls painted in Stiffkey Blue, manufactured by the ubiquitous Farrow & Ball, but extremely narrow. People facing the side walls will feel the presence of the passing waiters, and their chair might bump that of the person sitting behind them. The corner tables towards the back may also make you feel squeezed. On a Saturday lunch not long after opening, these were not desperate problems. As the place gets busier, be prepared. And you can be sure that Oldroyd is going to get busier, because it’s one of the best new openings of the year.

By: Richard Ehrlich

Posted:

Venue name: Oldroyd
Contact:
Address: 344 Upper St
London
N1 0PD
Opening hours: 12noon-11pm Mon-Thu; 12noon-12midnight Fri; 10am-12midnight Sat; 10am-10pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Angel
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|8
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Jen A-M

Unassuming little place where you creep up a small stairway to what seems to be someone's lounge with tables all quite close together - makes for a lovely atmosphere though & the food absolutely blew us away. Incredible, yet not pretentious. A must visit in Islington.

Jennifer S
Tastemaker

Seriously, fantastic food and excellent portion sizes for your money. 

I called a few hours beforehand for dinner and grabbed a solo seat at the bar. Note, the place is tiny overall. Still, I liked the relaxed vibe and the food coming fairly quickly.

I ordered the yellow peach, broad bean and goat's curd panzanella and the spinach and ricotta malfatti, girolles and crispy sage. Easily, each of those dishes could be a dinner alone, as the first is hefty and the second is so deliciously rich, you don't need anything else. Yes, it's salty but SO FREAKING GOOD.

The rich goat's curd the panzanella is draped in could make we weep for happiness. The peach offsets the dairy marvelously. The malfatti is FREAKING DELICIOUS OMGGGG. Five plump balls are in this incredible sauce. Their texture is dense, as they are stuffed well with spinach and ricotta. 

I didn't order drinks but the wines and cocktails sound interesting. The background music - an interesting mix of pop, indie and oldie music- isn't played too loud, which is a rare find in London restaurants.

Tara P
Tastemaker

Oldroyd is tucked away on Upper Street next to the lurid pink nail salon, so you'd be forgiven for walking straight past its sliver of blue frontage. From beginning to end the service was friendly and attentive - our waitress was particularly impressive for a London restaurant.


It can't be denied that the restaurant is tiny. When I arrived there were only two other diners present and I did I worry slightly about the lack of background noise in such a small space. In this instance it wasn't noticeable at all and the restaurant filled up quickly, but I would recommend considering the nature of your lunch when booking if small spaces and silences could pose a problem. It did seem that my initial experience was rare in finding the dining room so deserted. The other factor to consider is that a small space means just one toilet, and in this instance it was out of order - so this may impact your visit.


The two or three course lunch menu (the only one offered) appeared good value. If you're a fussy eater you may struggle with just three options for each course, but this wasn't a problem for me! We started with the pear and walnut salad, and the pâté. The salad had a satisfying mixture of flavours and textures, but was quite difficult to eat off such a small plate. I was told the pâté was excellent.


We both moved on to the chicken pie for our main. It was a substantial portion, and although at first I was surprised not to have a side of vegetables it was soon apparent that everything you could want lay under the crowning crust. The pastry was flaky in places and soft in others - in my opinion the perfect combination. If I had just one complaint it would be that the filling was a tad too watery and difficult to eat with a fork, but it arrived steaming hot and overall was an absolutely delicious dish.


For dessert we tried both the pear and ginger sorbet and the rice pudding. The rice pudding had a pleasingly strong orange flavour and the texture was wondrously creamy. The pear and ginger sorbet was refreshing, and it was pleasant to round off the meal with the same flavours as those in the starter.


For the quality of the food, the set lunch menu is very reasonable. If you're looking for a more refined option than the standard chains in Angel then I can heartily recommend Oldroyd and I would definitely return - next time perhaps for dinner as I've heard very positive murmurings about their white peach bellini...


Bonnie W
Tastemaker

After hearing that a former chef from Polpo was opening up his own restaurant in Angel, I knew I had to try it. Sadly, I ended up being slightly underwhelmed when I finally had a meal at Oldroyd. The mushroom croquets were what you would expect and the french bean and potato sides were nice. My friend and I both ordered the same vegetarian pasta dish and mine wasn’t overly oily but her pasta seemed to be sitting in a pool of oil. They must have mixed our two portions together and unfortunately hers was plated second and got all of the oil. I had the orange and honey rice pudding for dessert, which had a good flavour, but wasn’t all that memorable. Also, be aware that the restaurant is quite tiny and be prepared to squeeze in. Overall, my meal here was fine, just not particularly memorable.

GT
Staff Writer

This Islington restaurant is a total gem. Be prepared to get a little cosy with your fellow diners - it's a tiny, narrow space, much like the restaurants in Amsterdam (complete with a go-careful spiral staircase at the back to the first floor). I've eaten here twice and both times the food has been great quality. It's small plates though, so the bill soon adds up. There are surprisingly not that many stand out restaurants in this part of town (Ottolenghi being an exception) so it's a really welcome addition to the eating scene.  

Paperback Reader
Tastemaker

Lovely brunch spot and welcome addition to Angel. The restaurant is tiny but it's diminutive size and intimate seating add to its charm. I had the bacon and egg fettuccine, which was really Carbonara for breakfast, but it managed to be light yet filling and incredibly tasty. Will definitely be returning to try the dinner menu.

Samantha H
Tastemaker

Amazing.  From start to finish, everything was just fantastic.  We were late and concerned as we knew the restaurant was very small and sometimes this causes an issue.  The staff were very accommodating and were happy to wait for us without giving away the table.  Our friendly waiter was very knowledgeable and didn't try to constantly up-sell or get us to order more than was necessary.  Food came quick, good portion sizes and great value.  Cocktails were fantastic, wine flowed nicely....can't wait to go back!  Perfect for a date night and maybe for 4 people but due to the small size more than that may struggle with the space.  Book in advance! 

Cheeky Bellini

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Tastemaker

Great to see an independent restaurant in Angel when there are lots of other chain restaurants in the neighbourhood. I ordered two small plates for late lunch on Saturday. The radish salad with smoked cod role and heritage tomatoes and bean salad were both tasty and refreshing. There are other larger dishes on the menu. I shall be coming back with friends to sample rest of the menu.