Odette's 22

130 Regent's Park Road , London, NW1 8XL

Odette's

SquareMeal Review of Odette's

Odette’s has been a fixture in Primrose Hill since the year north London boy Rod Stewart reached number one with ‘Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?’ That was 1978. Run since 2008 by Welsh chef-patron Bryn Williams, the place remains a shining northern star. It’s a place of balance. From coherent, smart decor to cooking that is satisfyingly modern, the enterprise is far, far more than a humble neighbourhood restaurant. Carte and tasting menus show what Bryn is all about – intelligent combinations, judicious sourcing (plenty of Welsh ingredients) and full-on flavours. Glazed pork cheek comes with apple and lobster bisque in a dynamite little surf & turf combo, with main-course loin of venison in the company of cavolo nero, celeriac and pear. There’s impressive technical skill on show, right up to dessert of lemon curd Arctic roll. The pretty little garden out back and fashionable kitchen table add to Odette’s broad appeal.

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7.3

Food & Drink: 7.4

Service: 5.9

Atmosphere: 7.2

Value: 7.1

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Joanna G. platinum reviewer 27 September 2016

I have dined here many times over the years as I live locally and would have eaten here more regularly, however the menu, which is fairly compact, didn’t seem to change much over the years, so once you had eaten there 3 times a year, you had pretty much eaten the entire menu – don’t get me wrong, it was beautifully cooked, seasonal food with a modern twist but the menu was a little repetitive. Now, fast forward a couple of years since I was last here and I was tempted in by a lunch menu deal which was exceptional value for money in this gem of a restaurant, and we were blown away by the food. Clearly chef has changed his cooking style (and menu), crispy pork belly, a truly outstanding piece of lamb belly and loin of lamb, perfectly pink but with crispy skin, starter of chicken wings and scallops on a coconut curry sauce, Cornish mackerel tartar, Odette’s Jaffa Cake, excellent wine list and a really nice house white very reasonable by the carafe. The staff could be chattier (and a little more informative), I asked for a side of kale and hasselback potatoes for the table, and we received one (not tiny, but certainly not enough for 4) potato, but that really is my only criticism. We will be back very soon.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

The Cheese platinum reviewer 29 August 2015

Despite being impressed with Odette’s, I confess that veggies miss out on its killer lunch deal: three courses for £17, Tuesday to Friday. Pescetarians do alright, but you may need to order a la carte for an entirely meat-free meal. We plumped for the set menu, lapping up the fact you can add half a bottle of house wine - a perfectly quaffable cabernet sauvignon - and coffee for just £9 (er, yes please). Fish soup arrived with an artfully-adorned crouton, kicking off the meal with a summery flourish. My own starter of lamb ragu was served with perfectly al dente pappardelle, and perked up with satisfying bursts of pickled mustard seed. Mains were a mixed bag as my crushed celeriac with roasted beets was flavoursome but seemed incomplete; it lacked crunch, and the combination felt more like a showy side dish than the main event. It undoubtedly played second fiddle to my pal's regal-looking plaice with mussels, coastal herbs and a delectable butter sauce. Bitter chocolate tart with a cooling goat’s milk ice cream rounded off the meal satisfyingly, and several little extras made a lasting impression; excellent olives and soda bread, and homemade raspberry pastilles alongside supremely aromatic Americanos. Sailing past a picture of Morrissey on route to the conveniences, we were very taken with a quick peek at the private room, seating ten. On this occasion, it provided ample space and soundproofing for Primrose Hill’s yummy mummies and their offspring (presumably named Oscar, Sophie, Halloumi and Caper). The main dining room was therefore free for the ladies who lunch, yet the space felt unintimidating (despite the starched linen and high incidence of twinsets). Our waiter seemed genuinely gratified by our enjoyment, and enthusiastically shared titbits about ingredients without ever being intrusive. We left with a warm invitation to pop back soon; an offer we hope to take up, despite being strident South Londoners. Given the bum note that was my main, I’m not sure I’d fork out for the tasting menu; but with a lunch deal that reasonable, why wouldn’t we be back?

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

David H. platinum reviewer 25 October 2014

We visited for the first time at lunch today and enjoyed their six course tasting menu. The dishes were all quite complex, though pleasingly we could identify what each of the ingredients was adding to the overall flavour. Whilst the intensity of flavours was not what I'd expect at the very top of the restaurant tree, everything we ate was nicely balanced, well cooked and presented cleanly . All the courses were of broadly equal quality and appeal to us- there were no standouts and conversely nothing notably less good than the others. Value, at £52 for six small courses, was about right we thought, and they serve decent breads, and a wine -list with plenty by the glass and carafe, and able to support a casual lunch or a serious celebration. The restaurant itself doesn't look particularly opulent or stylish, but was pleasant enough and certainly doesn't detract. Service was timed about right- two hours for the 7 courses ( I had cheese too) and coffee. Whilst perfectly pleasant and polite, maybe the service might be a little more overtly friendly and engaged. Overall, we expected a good meal today and got it. One of the worries about tasting menus is portion size.. A bit too much over 7 courses and you're unreasonably stuffed, but equally too small feels mean and plates seeming just too empty. Pleasingly Odette's seem to have it pretty much right.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Jon B. bronze reviewer 13 November 2013

A small dish of green olives was tabled and I ordered a cola (I was a bit thirsty) whilst browsing the menu. They had a couple of specials also available in the lunch deal, Game terrine shallot chutney (I think this had been on a previous Sunday lunch menu) and toast to start and a Cornish seafood “stew”. I chose both these options, and would decide on the dessert later, for the three course deal with half a bottle of house red wine, and coffee. Rustic ryebread arrived with butter, quite solid but tasty although a little sweet, four slices, I had two. The wine arrived in a carafe, but I was not told actually what it was, though neither did I ask, but it was pleasant without being notable. The game terrine was not overly gamey in flavour, the pistachio and mushroom added texture, but for me the bacon surround was too thick, detracting from the game. The quenelle of caramelised shallot added a nice sweetness, but maybe needed just a hint more of some vinegar. Two slices of hot toast came with this. Next came the Cornish seafood stew, served in an ironstone dish. I’m guessing at the fish as sea bream, lemon sole, salmon and scallop, with brown shrimp and baby potatoes in a lobster-ish bisque, with some herby leaf garnish. Anyway, the three fish were expertly cooked, for such small pieces, judged to the second almost with crispy skin and just translucent in the centre, unfortunately the scallop, which I presumed correctly was added raw, had not quite heated through, thus the bisque was not quite hot enough when poured over. A tasty dish and nice for a light lunch. Having had the rye bread and the toast with the terrine, I decided more bread would be too much so opted for the soufflé rather than cheese and bara brith. It was superb. Light, perfectly cooked, almost as high over the dish as the dish itself, the berry and chocolate combination excellent, and the sharp apple sorbet a great accompaniment. A coffee to finish came with a small jar of mini meringues, I had a couple but couldn’t finish them all. Overall a well spent £30 for a tasty lunch, pleasant service and nice atmosphere, just a couple of minor points stopped me getting to the 3 1/2 to 4 stars 2 courses £13, 3 courses £15 or Three courses, half a bottle of house white or red & a coffee for £24.75 per person

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

Jean T. bronze reviewer 08 July 2013

We decided to try somewhere local i.e. not in the West End, for our Quiz Team lunch and could not have done better at many restaurants in the West End. From the exterior it looks like a typical small local restaurant but inside it seems to go on forever and even has a small garden area. It is very light and on the sweltering day that we went it was very airy. There were six of us and we were shown to a room, we thought there might be an issue but we all worked together! The menu was reassuringly short and we tried the Crayfish lasagne (absolute star of the starters), black pudding with poached egg and a stunning wood pigeon with fois gras and cherries. That certainly set the scene for the rest of the meal; the standard of presentation was fantastic and all the little touches on the dish actually added something and were not on the plate for show. For mains it was a split between the lamb and the roasted cod both of which were once again stunningly presented with fantastic flavours – each element was excellently executed. The desert finale did not disappoint we had the Orange jaffa cake, the lemon curd artic roll and the pistachio cake which were all delicious. We found a very good New Zealand Sauvignon and a very nice St. Chinian; all in all an excellent afternoon was had by all for at a very reasonable cost and excellent, friendly service. We will definitely be back!

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 1.0

Victoria S. 04 June 2011

We (two of us) went for dinner at Odette's on Friday the 3rd of June 2011. Having been to this restaurant before, well, couple of years back, when it had just started under new ownership of Bryn Williams, we had a pleasant experience and the restaurant provided us that feeling of eating there again. The ambience hadnt changed, we discovered that there is a small garden tucked in at the basement although it wasnt in a good condition. We started our evening with x2 cocktails, Negrano – a gin and martini based concoction and Bellini. Both the drinks were fairly staple drinks but they costed us a ridiculously expensive £9.50/- a glass. For the starters, we had crab lasgane and scallops. The scallops were succulent and nice but not delicious. I thought the crab lasagne didnt taste like crab to start with and it tasted of cheese although the sauce accompanying the crab dish in the middle compensated the taste a liitle but definately didnt deliver overall. We chose a New Zealand, Marlbourough, Sauvinon Blanc to accompany our meal, hand on heart, the wine menu is too expensive for the repertoire it boasted of. For example, there were wines on the menu I had before, and one of them in particular would have costed in mid-£20s in other Central London restaurants, was priced at £41/-!! The wine we had wasnt spectacular either but it carried a high price tag. Coming back to the main course, well, less I talk about it, better it is because we did not like our main courses at all! I had the Sea Trout which tasted bland, raw in the middle, presentation was poor and I thought the catch wasnt fresh. My friend had a Halibut which was slightly better than the Trout but again the dish did not deliver on taste. In between the meals, the chef sent through a complimentary sample of soup (waiter didnt know what it was! but) which tasted absolutely fantastic and we thought that would be the standard for the evening to follow but aghast we were hugely disappointed. We will not visit again as the standard seems to have gone down but the prices have gone up from as if they were low in the first place! because it wasnt…

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Junglefresh. gold reviewer 28 May 2009

My wife and I were curious to try Odettes in its new icarnation under the ownership of Bryn Williams. I had never really rated it when it was the haunt of the denizens of the “World of Advertising” (a number of whom had over the years taken me there to show how big a bill they could write off on expenses). We went with a couple of friends visiting London from San Clemente (Nixon territory for those that remember). We had a very enjoyable evening, but I have been left with the feeling that this is a work in progress rather than the finished article. I feel I need to justify this conclusion. Good points: The food itself was very serious – I eat out a lot, and all over the place, but this was imaginative cooking with unusual pairings of flavours, the odd flight of eccentric individuality (Assiette de Porc or Pig's Head – not for the faint hearted), very well executed and stylishly presented. My starter of miniscule pieces of raw tuna on confit tomato served with a concentrated beetroot nage was a feast on the palate. The main course of Turbot pan fried to absolute perfection with crispy, almost caramelised pieces of oxtail with cockles was… well, I loved it. Our friends ordered mushroom soup – sounds uninspiring ? The actual soup looked really wonderful (especially in the way it was served) and I am told tasted original and great. My wife's Quail's egg starter was, by comparison, more a triumph of style over substance. However, all the main courses drew huge praise (the lamb was perfectly executed, the salmon looked equally good, as did the halibut). Less Good Points: The Wine List seems to me to be overpriced: I love certain Portuguese reds, and there are four levels of Quinta do Crasto available if you look for them, the entry level one is fine and not expensive to buy: it deserved a place on the list, but not at £28. I don't really like Montepulicano D'Abruzzo and £24 seems too high a price for such an undistinguished wine. We chose the Trinity Hill Syrah at £28 (what can I tell you, I look for value when I buy wine in restaurants). I think that the Bleeding Heart charges less for this wine ( I tried to check, but the website has no specific wines listed) and other Trinity Hill wines (which are very enjoyable). In my view, all restaurants should have at least one “house wine” which represents good value for those that aren't looking to impress or to spend what is left of pre-crunch bonuses. Another minor gripe is that our glasses were over-filled though I did not get the impression that this was out of the usual attempt to get us to order another bottle (which we did anyway). I was also minorly irritated by the person who “welcomed” us to the restaurant abandoning us temporarily to do other things because my friend was taking too long to take off his coat – either you are serving a customer and stick with it, or you are not. You cannot half-serve. So, there you have it: Primrose Hill – lovely. Setting of the restaurant – comfortable, elegant. Food – loved it. Wines – could do better at the “value” end. Service – work in progress. This restaurant could be great !

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Max B. bronze reviewer 15 May 2009

Bryn Williams is a masterful chef with a talent for combining flavours and textures. The dishes are skillfully assembled and beautifully presented. The restaurant's wine list is well put together with some very interesting bottles at reasonable prices. The restaurant's revamped decor is warm and cozy. However the service is amateurish and approximative. In our visit it was shambolic and careless. From the moment we walked in (we booked for four and we were given a tiny table for three), to waiting for 45 minutes for someone to take our orders. We had to ask for bread and the wine list four times. With a front of house like this Williams makes a disservice to his excellent cooking. The restaurant has a lot of potential but he needs to employ professional staff. A real pity. Our suggestion: try it. Just ignore the hit-and-miss service and just enjoy some very fine food.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Zoe W. 16 March 2009

fantastic restaurant – food always superb. we usually take our own wine and pay the reasonable corkage charge. would recommend this restaurant to everyone. going there again on sunday for mothers day – cant wait :-)

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

Deborah G. 01 March 2009

If you're not hungry and enjoy style over substance, with inattentive service, this is your restaurant. Portions are tiny (3 slivers of wood pidgeon as a starter with a blob of sweetcorn panacotta!), small portion of steamed halibut, which would have been tasteless had it not been accompanied by a puree of mushrooms and an amuse bouche of foamed something or other in a shot glass. My partner had the Welsh lamb for mains, which one might have expected to be delicious, but wasnt tender. It took about half an hour to bring our bottle of wine, the waiters were running about but seemed more interested in re-jigging the tables than serving customers. A poor effort.

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