You’ll find Oldroyd in Angel on the exact same strip of road as some of the most average meals in London dining – Giraffe, Pizza Express, All Bar Ones, Wahaca, Byron, Masala Zone and one of those Brazilian restaurants that you saw in the film Bridesmaids. But in an unsuspecting space, what I would think was previously a 2 level townhouse, up pops Oldroyd to help change the landscape.
You might recognise Tom Oldroyd as previously being the chef director at Russell Norman’s Poplo – which specialises in doing small venetian plates and affordable cocktails. Previous to that role you would have found him at another perennial favourite in Soho – Boca Di Lupo. And before life as a chef he was dancing on the tiles in a front of house role.
Which then makes perfect sense when you see the seamless nature of the restaurant and the ebb and flow of the easygoing staff which allows you to settle in to the confined quarters of the room. You will find a couple of seats on the sidewalk if the weather doesn’t mess with the plan, a couple on the ground floor and then space for about 24 upstairs. So cosy but smartly not trying to jam everyone on top of each other.
Tom has just opened Oldroyd which launched just four weeks ago – so we decided to see if there should be a hot fuss made.
The food and wine menus are ever-changing so don’t be alarmed to find a few dishes substituted or wines needing to be restocked after a busy weekend. Knowing that Londoners loved what he did at Polpo and the menu revolving around venetian plates, Tom has moved his focus to Rome and the surrounding countryside for his latest venture.
We started out with the yellow courgette and girl mushroom arancini (£4) after missing out on the smoked pork belly and pea croquettes with truffle mayonnaise – but if all went well on this visit there would always be another. These arancini are how they were intended by the Italians – not heavy or jam-packed with dry or cold rice but light fluffy and piping hot.
At the same time we had a heritage tomato and green bean salad with béarnaise reduction (£4.50). We like to order in waves. So sue me. The dishes here are very much in the older cliche – simple things done well and this salad is a perfect example.
The lamb and almond meatballs came doused in alas romesco and picked garlic and was all the better for it (£7.50). The zucchini fries (£3.50) were the perfect match and had a light tempura-like batter on them.
We headed back to the UK with the Cornish crab on toast with fennel and raddish salad. We thought there may be cause for concern depending on what the size of the dish would be for £9 but the portion was very generous with hearty bread and fresh crab billowing over the sides of the crust.
We were full by this point but had already put an order in for the peach and cow curd panzanella salad with broad beans and mint (£8). Again there are no complains with the portions and while peaches are in season I too suggest you make peach hay while the sun shines. All the flavours worked like they should and only hope the UK produced peaches like this the whole year so the dish could remain on the menu.
Dessert was going to be both the stone fruit and brioche pain perdu with vanilla ice cream AND the chocolate mousse with sales pistachio praline and raspberries but we were on our last legs of ordered a serve of the latter. Those freshly picked raspberries really brought the dish together and worked well with the bitterness of the chocolate. It was a nice refreshing Italian dessert riffing on the current salted caramel trend.
So what else needs to be said about Oldroyd? Tom has done his thing with simple ingredients to create simple little dishes. There is the option of doing brunch with a selection of five dishes, each unique to the restaurant. There’s only two dishes over £9 on the menu so it’s affordability is unquestionable and you can order wine by the glass, carafe and bottle. Book now – the space is small but the anticipation should be huge.
Trading Hours: monday – thursday 12.00 – 23.00; friday 12.00 – 00.00; saturday 10.00 – 00.00; sunday 10.00 – 22.00.