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Prince Albert Road (corner of Charlbert Street)
“If this was a cruise ship it would be the old P&O Victoria, rather than a modern Cunard liner”, mused one reader after visiting this slice of vintage 1970s nostalgia. Oslo Court is certainly one of a kind – it’s like “time travelling backwards”, but in a good way, with charmingly retro salmon-pink decor, heavily starched linen and tuxedo-clad waiters wheeling around dessert trolleys. Likewise, the menu lists the kind of fare found in five-star hotels of a bygone era, with warm buttered rolls presented alongside coquilles St Jacques or garlicky mushrooms in puff pastry. Generosity is a given when it comes to mains, perhaps a whopping Dover sole meunière or roast duckling with a choice of orange, cherry or apple sauce, while puds of the crêpe Suzette and strawberry flan ilk aren’t exactly featherweight either. It’s all rather hypnotising, and the clientele of local, moneyed retirees would be lost without it.
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Prince Albert Road (corner of Charlbert Street)
St. John's Wood Tube Station 521m
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Mon-Sat 12.30-2.30pm 7-11pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Entering the restaurant was like travelling back in time to the 1970s. The decor and ambiance is a little past its sell by date, but is obviously well liked by its clientele who are obviously regular and well fed. Several large tables were hosting birthday parties for older members, and I have no doubt, for this kind of event, this place is ideal.
London has moved on a lot since then, however, and food presentation and levels of discreet service have skipped by unnoticed. Portions are substantial, served piping hot and either very well cooked or in the case of my starter and the general assorted vegetables, were too well cooked for my liking. If you have dentures, however, they could have been ideal and possibly this was the intention.
You will not go home wondering what special ingredient made that wonderful dish, or wanting to recreate anything for a dinner party... the chances are, you have cooked it before ( if dietary laws permit ).
Tables are pushed very close together, there is almost no room for a pre-dinner drink at the bar while waiting for your late table to be prepared.
The Maitre-d' and staff try hard to please, but there is a lack of finesse that more than likely goes unnoticed by the clientele of older regulars. Music is played just loud enough to not hear conversation at adjacent tables yet soft enough to be able to talk to table mates.
If this was a cruise ship it would be the old P&O Victoria than a modern Cunard liner. Clientele are more Marbella than St Tropez. Presentation is more Lexus than Aston Martin.
Conclusion: Like my old School reports used to say... Oslo Court tries hard, but could do better with a little more imagination and a little less effort.
Food + drink: 5
With all due respect I have to disagree with parts of Marks review, I always find it to have a fantastic chatty atmosphere, at lunch or supper time, with high quality service , and overall just a delight when compared to the more modern restaurants which in my experience often have uppity staff and comparatively lower standards than Oslo Ct with ref to customer service,
yes they're often more up to date with ref to their pretty little dishes, but if you are looking for a plentiful plate, instead of pretty and minuscule modern dishes then this wont be the place for you,
I personally feel that it is great to be in such a friendly family run establishment with old fashioned values etiquette and style, rather than a chic poseurs establishment, where half the clients are celeb spotters, and lots more are on someone else's expenses list,
it'll be a great shame should the proprietor decide to retire without handing it down to his family to keep this hidden gem going so as to remind people what it was like before brash with cash came to town.
I’ve read and heard so much about Oslo Court. “It’s the best restaurant in the country”, “probably the best in the world”. “London’s best kept secret”. I had to go.
Suffice to say the decor was as described elsewhere. The food was not.
On arrival we were presented with a plate of “crudities” – chunks of cucumber, carrots and cauliflower, alongside Melba toast and fresh out of the fridge firm butter. We were offered garlic bread – think along the lines of supermarket soft rolls with garlic filling. Shortly afterwards our au d'oeuvres arrived. Onion soup was inoffensive albeit lacking any intensity, a lobster cocktail came with an optional “Marie Rose sauce”; that’s Thousand Island dressing to you.
Mains – Dover Sole, cooked flawlessly, Beef Wellington which tasted as good as I remember, sauté potatoes, slightly soggy, as though they’d been standing for a while, perfectly creamy mashed potatoes, and over-cooked beans and carrots. The deserts come off a trolley served by the enthusiastic Neil who promised the best profiteroles I’d ever tasted (they were)”gorgeous lemon meringue pie” (it was – light, fluffy and dreamy) and “a selection of fresh berries” (the strawberries were just on the turn).
The “petit fours” consisted of mass produced chocolates and marzipan shapes.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave or are completely delusional you won’t consider Oslo Court to be the best restaurant in the world. Or in London. Or in St John’s Wood. It’s basic food, in parts cooked very well and in parts cooked like, well, how they used to cook in the bad old days. The staff are efficient and the maître d’charming. But Le Gavroche it’s not. It’s a place that a certain type of person frequents in order to eat familiar food, with similar, like-minded people. Nothing more.
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