The Oak 1

137 Westbourne Park Road , London, W2 5QL

  • The Oak, Paddington Bayswater, London
  • The Oak, Paddington Bayswater, London
  • The Oak, Paddington Bayswater, London
  • The Oak upstairs med res 018

SquareMeal Review of The Oak

Originally a boozer, The Oak now plies its trade as a rustic Italian osteria complete with scrubbed wooden tables and a wood-fired pizza oven. Kick off with vitello tonnato, seared squid or toasted bruschetta piled with creamy burrata before tackling an authentic thin-crust pizza, described by one reader as ‘probably the best in London’. If you’re looking for a sophisticated topping try char-grilled zucchini, salted ricotta and truffle oil, otherwise satisfy any carnivorous cravings with Tuscan pork sausage and porcini. There are also a few please-all mains ranging from calf’s liver with ratte potatoes and butternut squash to seared tuna with wild rocket and salsa verde. The no-bookings policy can irritate, but you can always head upstairs for ice-cold martinis and dinky cicchetti nibbles while waiting for a table. Service receives praise.

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6.0

Food & Drink: 7.5

Service: 5.7

Atmosphere: 7.3

Value: 6.3

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Barry F. 27 October 2012

What a great find, though a little out of my manor. Situated in an ugly part of west london, the atmosphere of this restaurant hits you the moment you open the door. We had drinks in a very comfortable bar upstairs where the lighting is what ambient lighting is all about. After a very good bottle of picpul, we went downstairs for our meal. There was some confusion as the barman said our bill could be transferred downstairs, but then we found out, that we might not get a table. They do not take bookings, which is fair enough, but surely if you have clients on the premises already, upstairs drinking, and they intend to eat downstairs when they finish, it is possible to book them a table! The dining room is again well lit and comfortable. The wood burning pizza oven dominates the room and as I found out, turns out delicious pizzas with fresh toppings and an excellent tasting base, thin with just the right amount of crispness and taste of wood. The wine list is superb with a huge variety catering for all budgets. The service was attentive and polite and special mention must go to the doorman who was cheerful and welcoming. The locals are very lucky to have such a bright spot in such a dismal area.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 2.0

Jane S. 19 June 2011

If you are in a group, don’t even think of coming to this restaurant, the food is excellent, but the service is the worst I have experienced in London for a long time! The manageress on our visit was by far the rudest person I have ever encountered. Even to the point of hostile! You would hope that a restaurant in this neck of the woods would pride itself on service but clearly not. As a birthday lunch, we were treated to ‘a hands on hips’ stand-off shout in the middle of the restaurant when additional members of our party arrived. Although the restaurant was empty (3.30pm towards the end of service on a Saturday) when the final members of our party arrived we were told off for sitting 3 people at a table for 2, not allowed to join the tables in an empty restaurant and made to sit on separate tables apart from each other! All of this would have been fine but even after trying to talk with the manageress she proceeded to conduct a stand up row with us in the middle of service. No apology was issued and no compensation was offered. When we asked to take the service off we had to explain ourselves again to the next shift manager, who seemed at least to take an interest in our situation, but again offered no recompense. In summary good food but not somewhere I would ever recommend or come again. Neither would any or our 15 strong group. A blight on an otherwise lovely day, such a shame.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Andrea R. 24 June 2010

Amazing Pizza, probably the best in London!!!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Sammy.D bronze reviewer 08 April 2010

The Oak is definitely one of the most charming places in Notting Hill. Stick with the pizzas which are always great – though the octopus with salad on a recent visit was also very good. But the real draw of this place is the atmosphere and really great service. At weekend lunchtimes, natural lights fills the rusticish room. In the evenings, it's all candles and great breeze coming through on summer evenings. Only problem is the rush and no bookings policy means a lot of people hanging around the small bar which can make sitting at one of the tables near the front a bit of a pain.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 1.0

CDE 22 December 2009

I have gone to the Oak many times in the past year for dinner/drinks and often recommend it to friends as we enjoy the atmosphere even if value for money is average. Each time I have been by, the bar and restaurant have been open and so I did not even think that I had to check the opening hours when I arranged to meet friends from out of town at 6pm at The Oak for drinks/dinner on the 21st December. I left work early as the weather was terrible (snow and sleet) and I wanted to make sure we could get a table as The Oak does not take reservations and my friends were tired from a long day touring. I arrived at the Oak a little early (approx. 5:45) to find it closed. I was told that the restaurant and bar would open at 6pm. As I didn't have long to wait, I asked whether I could wait inside for my friends because it was very cold and sleeting outside and that we were planning to have dinner. I was told NO. I explained that I didn't need to be served but just wanted to wait inside to stay warm until 6pm when it opened. The manager/staff on duty did not budge. Unfortunately I did not take his name. I have worked in restaurants in the past and there is no harm in letting someone sit at a table whilst you prepare the restaurant for opening even if you can’t serve them. People understand and are appreciative of flexibility, especially when the weather is as bad and cold as it was yesterday. However, as I had no choice but to leave I met my friends at another restaurant (The Cow) where we had drinks and a very good dinner. I will not return to The Oak as I am extremely disappointed in the blatant disregard for its customers. It is hard enough living in London to time one’s arrival at locations with the intermittent tube service and the extremely inclement weather (especially in these difficult economic times) without having to deal with a restaurant that has no consideration for its clientele. If anything I would expect restaurants to be flexible and to try to accomodate their customers during these difficult times. I do not recommend the Oak to those who value customer service.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Food fiend platinum reviewer 16 November 2009

I wasnt hugely impressed with The Oak and was surprisd it was considered one of the best restaurants in the Notting Hill area. My partner and i went there for Sunday lunch and it was heaving with Notting Hill wealthy types + lots of young yummy mummies! I started with an overly salty chicken liver pate (so salty that it seemed like it was sliced with a salt covered knife!). This just didnt appeal. My partner had deef fried chilli squid which he really loved. For my main, i had a really nice meal of lamb cutlets but this was accompanied by ravioli stuffed with beetroot which was al dente but warm/cool so tasted like it had been left out a while. My partner had wild mushroom risotto but said he felt like there was nothing special about it, just the same as we could make at home. Puddings were so so, browies and double cream etc – so we didnt opt for anything. Overall for two courses each and two drinks, it came to £60, which was quite hefty. Service was extremely slow but then it was packed out so we understood – when it came, it was good. I feel there are better places – even Lucky Seven next door if you like roughing it a bit, or Bumpkin a few metres away – if you prefer a more similar environment to The Oak – but this just was so so, and certainly not one of the best places in the area…

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