The main dining room at Oldroyd is so small that you throw a feather from one end to the other. The other room is even smaller, having to share the space with a kitchen no bigger many domestic ones. But don’t let the size fool you: this is Islington’s best restaurant.
The food is based on Italy, France, and Spain, in roughly equal proportions, and the menu is divided – though this isn’t spelled out – into small, medium, and larger plates. We love that arrangement because it lets you put together a meal however you want to – you can do it all with small and medium or walk the conventional starter-and-main line.
Menus change daily, but certain things are constant. There is always a croqueta, always home-cured fish, and always a pasta, fish, and meat main dish. We’ve never eaten anything here that was less than exceptional, and sometimes what sounds like a really simple dish blows you away. The size means that Oldroyd is definitely not a place to come with a big group, and it’s at its best as a date spot, in the evening. (Go for a cocktail at nearby 69 Colebrooke Row and then stroll down Essex Road to eat.) Lunch on Saturday – market day – is a lot of fun, and a bargain if you order the set menu. Even at full price, the place is not expensive. Not for quality like this. Just take your feather with you when you leave.
In a city crawling with croquetas, Oldroyd’s rank right at the top of the heap. You may want to order two portions, just to be on the safe side.
They make it themselves and serve it simply.
Often sauced with shellfish, always great.