My two biggest passions in life are Otis Redding and eating good food. Put these two together and I’m as happy as a lark! This is just what happened when I spent last Sunday afternoon at Oldroyd with my good friends Louise and Tony. I was excited to see them as it had, yet again, been way too long since our last get-together. Saying that, on my way there, I had been protesting to my brothers on our WhatsApp group that I was absolutely NOT going to drink that afternoon. (I’ve been trying to reign the drinking in a bit). Of course, as soon as I saw my friends, hugs and squeals exchanged, I immediately ordered what they had…prosecco with pear vodka. An absolute delight, and the perfect way to kick off the afternoon.
All good intentions of abstinence flew out the window and splatted onto Upper Street as we ordered the first of many carafes of red wine.
The plates at Oldroyd are small sharing plates, as most places are nowadays. We were advised to order a few but we struggled not to just go ahead and order everything. We started off with the most sensational smoked haddock croquetas with a homemade tartare sauce. Perfectly crisp on the outside, then velvety soft on this inside, these were a triumph.
Then the Spinach & Ricotta Malfatti (gnocchi-like dumplings) with chantarelle mushrooms and sage arrived. Wow, what glorious pillows of wonder they were! So soft, so unctuous, so full of flavour. The hint of the sage balanced perfectly with the spinach and ricotta, the chantarelles giving an earthy tone to the dish. This was perfection.
The melt-in-the-mouth grilled pork rib eye arrived, perfectly pink, on a bed of lentils and was topped with a Spring-like salsa verde. The pear, chicory, Colston Bassett stilton and spiced walnut salad added a lovely crunchy, fresh note to proceedings. The spiced, caramelised walnuts worked particularly well with the salty, creamy stilton.
To finish off our meal we ordered the incredibly moist Yorkshire rhubarb & almond tart with rhubarb ripple ice cream, the tartness of which cut through the richness of the sponge. We also ordered the Neal’s Yard cheese plate. I wish I could remember the cheeses we got, but we were onto our third carafe of red wine by that point. Needless to say, they were delicious and we enjoyed them immensely.
Through the chat and the laughter, the food and the wine, the music was incredible. I noticed Marvin Gaye and Laura Mvula amongst other cracking tunes as we embarked on our meal, and then as we were halfway through, Otis came on. Not just one song, but a whole album…bliss! Then Ray Charles. I could not have been happier.
Oldroyd has been on my restaurant list since before it opened. I was a huge fan of Tom Oldroyd when he was chef-director at Russell Norman’s Polpo restaurant group and with Oldroyd being his first venture away from the Polpo family, I can only hope it is a very successful one. The restaurant itself is small but perfectly formed. This is the kind of place where you squeeze into a table with your friends then eat, drink and be very, very merry.