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|Address:||137 Westbourne Park Road, London W2 5QL|
|Tel:||020 7221 3355|
|Price: £42.00||Wine: £16.00||Champagne: £47.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 6.30-10.30pm Fri-Sat 12N-3pm Sun 12N-10pm|
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The Oak – Westbourne Park Road W2 5QL
On hearing The Oak did not take reservations for dinner, I was unsure what to think. Certainly unusual procedure for a West London restaurant, or perhaps it was not popular enough to need a table booking? This perception was soon corrected as we enter the busy, intimate dining space and sit at the last available table for two. The clever arrangement of rustic wooden tables, candlelights and the high vaulted ceiling make the small, one-roomed restaurant feel much larger than the floor space would suggest.
The Spanish/Mediterranean inspired menu proves to be very difficult to choose from, with many tasty sounding dishes such as Twice cooked pork belly, warm mixed bean salad shallots, parsley, lemon juice & chorizo alongside Chargrilled corn-fed chicken breast, roast pumpkin Puy lentils & carmelized baby onion. An extensive selection of wood-fired pizzas are also hard to resist when I choose Grilled halibut steak, saffron mash, capers, lemon parsley & butter. To start we eat an excellent Spanish charcuterie, simply but elegantly served on a board with a garlic pizza bread that had seen their famous wood fires for slightly too long. To accompany this; a sharp Sicilian lemonade is also brought to the table by the polite waiter at a relaxed pace. If you wanted a quick meal then you may find the service slow.
My main is the real triumph of the evening. The fish cooked perfectly with a crispy skin is complimented by the butter sauce, whilst the smooth saffron mash, rivals that of the Oxo Tower. My girlfriend’s Venison ragu on thick parpadelle had a deep homely flavour, summing up the restaurant’s ethos of rustic simplicity.
The restaurant remains at full capacity throughout the meal, as groups from the quirky upstairs bar (worth a visit in itself, if just for a drink) replace satisfied diners. A great buzz and mixed clientele create a warm and casual atmosphere.
Without wine, a two course meal for two comes to just over £50, which isn’t cheap but not overpriced by any means. The menu in itself will have me coming back to try more dishes, and if looking for a relaxed simple meal I thoroughly recommend The Oak. Get there early to avoid a lengthy wait.