Rachel Boynton’s film is a patient, even-handed affair and all the more depressing for being so predictable. The various manoeuvrings see interests placated, promises broken, bucks passed. Eventually, the oil is still mainly in the ground and Ghana’s back where it started. Look out for the crushingly inevitable postscript though – after one year of production, the scores on the doors are as follows; foreign oil companies: $2 billion; the Ghanian exchequer: $444 million. Did anyone not see that coming?
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
Venue says: “Oldroyd offers a daily-changing European menu built around the best seasonal British ingredients.”