With Odette’s, Lemonia, La Collina and L’Absinthe all within 5 minutes walk of each other, the Primrose Hill locals are spoilt for choice when it comes to good neighbourhood restaurants. Odette’s is the most well-known of the bunch thanks to head chef Bryn Williams who has a bit of a celebrity status after his Great British Menu triumph a few years back. If you go at lunchtime you can try his food for incredibly reasonable prices. The set-lunch menu of 2 courses for £13 or 3 for £15 is an absolute bargain, and would be good value just about anywhere, let alone for cooking of this standard.
Inside the decor is classy with a homely feel to it, and with a busy lunchtime dining room the atmosphere was pleasant, if not a little on the stiff side. The service throughout was efficient, but for a local restaurant I’d have preferred it to be a little more informal and chatty. As for the menu, whilst it is great value, I would have liked one more option for each course, as with only 2 to choose from it is a bit limited, especially for the main as it was either the salmon dish or a vegetarian option of glazed parsnip and carrot with walnut pesto & ceps. This meant that my partner and I went for the same meal, which is a bit of a shame because we both love swapping dishes half way through to get a try of as much as possible.
To start the Lamb belly, piquillo peppers, capers and romesco sauce was a far more generous portion than I was expecting. The first few bites were lovely, but the more I ate, the more sickly it became. With sweet peppers, a romesco sauce and the capers, there was a lot of flavours competing with the lamb and it was a little on the sweet side.
For main the Salmon, fregola, purple sprouting broccoli and horseradish was presented in a lovely way that really evoked the seaside. The salmon was perfectly cooked with a rare pink middle and crispy outer layer, so it was a real shame that it was let down by the saltiness of the dish. There was also a distinct lack of any horseradish flavour, perhaps again because of it being too heavily salted.
For an extra £2 you get dessert, so I can’t imagine anybody holding back here. We decided to try one of each, and again the portions were generous. The Salted chocolate tart, caramel ice cream might well be the best I’ve had. It was incredibly light and had just the right balance between the saltiness and sweetness. A lovely end to the meal.
The Caerphilly cheese, bara brith & quince jelly had a great strong flavour that was balanced by the sweetness of the jelly and the hint of cinnamon in the bread. They had left the ‘cheese’ part of the description off the menu though, so I wasn’t sure just what dessert from that region in Wales I was going to be served up.
With two glasses of Chenin blanc (£6.20) and a side of smoked mash (£3) which wasn’t at all needed, the bill was just over £25 a head with service, and these prices it really is worth trying if you are in the area.
Value: 9/10 (lunch menu)
130 Regent’s Park Rd, London NW1 8XL