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A beacon of independence in an increasingly chain-heavy city, Oli’s may be small but it packs a big Thai punch. Named after the owner’s young son, this café-style set-up seats around 20, so peak-time tables can require booking a month ahead – especially as the food is also terrific value. Alternatively, you can turn up on spec and stake your claim, then head off for a pint (they’ll call you when a table is free). Either way, this is food worth waiting for. Everything on the modest menu is cooked in a tiny open kitchen, and we’ve yet to have a dud dish from the dozen on offer. Top marks go to the confit duck Penang curry, the meat pulling from the bone into a sweet and spicy coconut cream sauce, but we’ve also enjoyed fresh and fragrant chicken with garlic, pepper and coriander, crispy chickpea salad, and jumbo-size sweetcorn fritters with sweet chilli sauce. And don’t leave without the trying the Portuguese-style custard tart: it’s epically good. Oli’s may be homespun, but it’s stylish too, from the orange melamine eating counter to the fine glass tumblers used for wine.
Squaremeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2016 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2016. Thousands of readers and bloggers took part and the results were moderated by the Squaremeal editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The survey does not ask for or include any restaurants in London. Click here for a full list of Squaremeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
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