SquareMeal Review of
Upstairs at The Oak
Open evenings only, this handsome first-floor lounge is a favourite of Notting Hill folk in need of a cocktail fix. It’s a comfy spot: a cosy, well-upholstered, minestrone-tone, nouveau-Victorian drawing room. Prepare to settle in for the long haul, drawn to the likes of Fresh Kiwi Margarita, Basil G&T (with Tanqueray gin), or Hustler (a Cariel vanilla vodka and passion fruit Martini). For more Churchillian tastes, there’s a stentorian Sazerac; a rosehip-enhanced London spin on the traditional Florentine Negroni; and Charlie Chaplin (a gin, lime and apricot revival, £9), among a range of classics. The decor may be raffishly Rule Britannia, but the bar snacks sail the Med for inspiration. The choice of reasonably priced tapas and cicchetti includes boquerones (white anchovies, capers and tomatoes), sirloin of beef with Parmesan and truffle oil; grilled pepper bruschetta; and chorizo in fennel seeds with lemon.