What can you tell us about Oldroyd?
It's the first solo restaurant from Tom Oldroyd, best known for being there right at the start of Polpo and eventually becoming the chef-director of the whole group. He's now moved out on his own with this small restaurant right on Islington's Upper Street.
Where is it?
It's near the Byron on the end of Upper Street closest to Angel tube station.
Walk-ins or bookings?
A little of both. The downstairs area is reserved for walk-ins (along with a couple of outside tables) and there will also be some stools by the small bar there. Upstairs can be booked, though.
Who's it suitable for?
it's certainly something of a godsend for locals. While the Highbury end of Upper Street has its fair share of decent restaurants, there's a bit of a chain-focus around the busier part near Angel. It wasn't always this way as Islington used to be home to all manner of independent restaurants many moons ago. Hopefully Oldroyd's arrival will be the first of many. So yes, Islington residents will love it - but judging by the food we also think that it's worth crossing town for too.
What kind of food can we expect?
Seasonal European is possibly the best way of describing it - a European influenced menu using locally sourced British produce. It's a mixture of small plates and big - and the big are quite generous.
What's particularly recommended?
We definitely feel the need to go back and work through more of the many (and to have more of the excellent shoestring zucchini fries, which the place does just perfectly), However, if we had to single out three - we'd say go for:
- Smoked pork belly & pea croquettas with truffle mayonnaise (£4) - we're always partial to a good croquettas and these certainly fit the bill. Particularly good truffle mayo too.
- Squid, confit rabbit & broad bean paella, aioli - currently the must-order dish. An excellent British take on paella with the meltingly tender confit rabbit being a wonderful addition (£11)
- Grilled pork ribeye, borlotti beans & chard, hazelnut pistou (£14) - a great alternative to steak, a great big slab of perfectly cooked pork. Goes very well with those zucchini fries.
But in all honesty, absolutely everything we had was excellent and it's also worth pointing out that the portions are very generous too.
How about drinks?
There's a small drinks menu - we'd recommend leading with a seasonal bellini (£7) while perusing the menu. As for wine, there's a small list of around 10 in total, starting at £22 for a bottle of white Montesierra Blanco from Somantano. All but one of the bottles were available as carafes on our visit, including an excellent Voltolino Gavi from Piedmont (£18 carafe/£26 bottle).
If we had any hesitation in recommending Oldroyd, which is easily up there with our meals of the year so far, it would purely be on selfish grounds that we'd like to be able to get a table here again. The food is excellent, the tiny restaurant just looks lovely and the ever-changing menu will keep you coming back for more. It's times like this that we're happy to be Islington locals but if you're not, we urge you to make the trip anyway and try for yourselves.
Oldroyd is at 344 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 0PD. Find out more about Oldroyd.
Hot Dinners were invited to Oldroyd, prices were correct at the time of writing.