I’m a bit of a self-confessed Christmas nut. I’ve spent most of December dressed in some sort of festive jumper or my Santa hat (including five-a-side and cocktail party’s)
To celebrate Christmas this year, we decided to finally pay a visit to Odette’s, in Primrose Hill. I’m quite a big fan of Primrose Hill. There are some great little pubs up on Regents Park Road. Check out the Pembroke Castle and The Queens if you get up there.
Odette’s has held pride of place on the parade of posh shops, since 1978. It had a reputation of being overpriced and a bit stuffy. However, it became part of music supremo Vince Powers’ empire back in 2006. Powers appointed Bryn Williams of Great British Menu fame, as the patron chef who is well-defined as the turning point for the restaurant. In 2008, he bought out Powers and became the sole proprietor.
Bryn also bought with him his well-established signature dish; Roasted Turbot with braised oxtail. It was this that he served to The Queen, for her 80th birthday.
It’s definitely a cosy establishment. More of a dining room than a restaurant I might even say. Massively comfy chairs on small tables sensibly positioned across a modest, space.
We didn’t get a chance to go downstairs but it looked really swanky down there, with a bar and a few tables. There’s also a garden for a spot of Alfresco dining if you’re feeling adventurous!
In fact, it was so intimate inside that we decided it might be a bit rude and off-putting to our fellow dinners to take photos (which has been something I’m trying to post more of).
Whilst deciding between the a la carte menu and the tasting menu, I had a sneak peek at the wine list. Definitely well above average however it was also priced well above average. It was because of this that we ended up with the vegetarian tasting menu, which was £75 for six courses. Each course with a glass of wine to accompany.
The staff were great, talking us through each dish. What was in it, how it was made and what flavours it produced. They were also fantastic in talking us through the wines; where it was from, the tastes we could expect, how and why it was chosen. I was really impressed by the knowledge.
We started with a pleasant roast butternut soup with sage and onion brioche. Right at the bottom of the bowl was cooked chestnuts, providing a cheeky little surprise.
The other highlight was the Artichoke en croute, aubergine & tomato, with shaved fennel salad. It was presented beautifully, almost as a pastry –entirely unexpected – atop of a spicy aubergine sauce.
We were a tad nervous with the truffled Perl Wen cheese and potato & herb salad. Mainly because of the way it looked reminded us of the Salt Yard incident, but I can’t complain. It was pretty nifty.
I should probably point out that the Perl Wen is an organic Welsh cheese. It’s a big part of Bryn’s philosophy to source and use Welsh ingredients.
As delightful as the food and wine was, £75 was an awful lot of money and there probably is better places to spend it. However, you only live once!
I did sometimes feel a bit rushed as the wine for the next course came before we’d finished the last one. But if that’s the low point of the evening than I’m really whinging about nothing.
We were so stuffed that we decided to stroll home through the park and then finished the evening off with a lovely single malt at the flat. All in all, a very recommendable evening!