05 November 2012
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.