odette’s, london

great british in camden. this post marks the end of my current spate of london reviews as I have graduated from four years of brilliant university life and am returning to singapore to my family and for work. I will be back (and continuing reviewing!) but after this post most of mine will be of singapore restaurants, where I will be based. it feels right to me that I finish it with a british restaurant since I very much love this city I’ve been in for the last few years, and for all that people make fun of its culinary genius of lack of, there are a great number of fantastic british chefs around doing great work, just as in odette’s.

there are many positive reviews in the blogosphere about this restaurant, and the location is the reason I haven’t been able to get here before now. I’m glad I did though, because the day of my lunch was the first real day of summer we had in london, with sunshine and without coats, and we sat in odette’s beautiful terrace in the back. aren’t those specks of light just so beautiful!

we started with a small dish of green and brown olives – and if you read this blog you know I dislike them so I have no idea how they tasted – as well as a basket of very nice brown bread, a little like pumpernickel, and a smaller sort of white bun that was warm and melted the tasty butter.

there were three of us and incidentally about three choices per course, and hence worked out pretty well. the first starter was a pea soup, a very sweet green pea soup and we loved this, but please avoid this unless you fervently love peas (the way I do). it was thick but very fresh and light, and actually really quite filling. the second starter was a sort of brown crab custard/terrine served with two slices of bread which was fresh and seafoody though a little too rich to eat on its own without bread, so ask for refills if you need to (yes they very happily refill that delicious bread!). my own starter was a huge rabbit ravioli in a tasty consomme – the rabbit filling was minced and had chopped vegetables and quite tasty. quite an asian dish actually.

I can’t remember what the three options for the mains were, but we ended with me having a dish of pan-fried fish with a sort of salsa and my friends had the pea risotto with lamb. the fish was cooked just right, but really it was just a piece of fish and while it wasn’t a miserly serving, it wasn’t very filling or innovative. the risotto was tasty though, and from what I could see the lamb was pink.

our desserts came from the ala carte menu. the first was the arctic roll dish of ice cream frozen in a tube of cake and served some red fruit – I had read about this on londoneater but I wasn’t actually very impressed with this. it was the prettiest dessert on the table, undeniably, but in terms of taste it lost to the other two. perhaps if you grew up eating arctic roll – I didn’t – then this dish might be more special to you.

the second dessert we had was a pistachio cake with a sort of creme anglais – this was good because I love pistachios, but really the winner on the table was the souffle and chocolate icecream. tall and fluffy, and robust enough to stay tall while we asians do our thing and take photographs. there is something still immensely satisfying and amazing about a tall souffle arriving at your table, and the first spoon you take of it that causes it to deflate. just gorgeous.

overall, the meal wasn’t overly impressive or particularly innovative, but it was great fresh food brilliantly executed in the london sunshine, and that was a great combination. this is a place that would work well for a wide range of meals, from dates to lunch with your girlfriends – which is what I did – and will even please the parents and you’re lucky if this is your neighbourhood restaurant!

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Square Meal

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