Tag Archives: The Oak

The Oak Private Room

10 Jun

Last week-end, I went to London to meet some friends and enjoy the spring in the parcs…. The first task was fully completed…. the second…..

Anyway, on Friday evening, JC, my friend Pauline’s husband had organized a great dinner for her. He had booked the Private Table at the Oak and had her best friends in France coming over for the week-end. She was very surprised and we were happy to be part of the fun!

The Oak is one of my favorite pub in Westbourne, I used to go there almost every week-end to order the Zucchini pizza. With kids, with friends, in the Winter or Summer…. all the occasions are worth going there. Even if you want to share a drink with friends, you can go upstairs at the bar they have at the 1st floor. They have nice boards of cheese, mezze and patés served with amazing bread. The cocktails as well as the wines are just what you are looking for when you come during the week for a casual drink. And the atmosphere is just slightly more sophisticated than downstairs.

It’s also a good alternative when the restaurant downstairs is full and the waiting list too long….!

The Bar at the 1st floor:

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The Private Table:

The Private Table at the Oak is also upstairs and you have to walk through the bar to reach it.

You can have a drink at the bar while waiting for all the guests to arrive or seat around the large wooden table straight away to enjoy the privacy of the room.

You just need to close the white doors to get separated from the bar.

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A tasty Italian wine: Valpolicella 2011 Allegrini Veneto

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For the menu, the person organizing the party has to make a pre-selection of dishes in order to make it easier to deal with for the kitchen. Still, you have 3 choices of starters, mains and desserts!

We were pretty lucky as JC really made a great choice and we had a taste of the whole list…. Here is what we had:

Starters:

Burrata di Puglia, Prosciutto di San Daniele, Bruschetta

The Burrata was very creamy and fresh, the olive oil tasty and the prosciutto very thinly sliced. A perfect starter!

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Dorset Crab Salad, Fennel, Black Olives, Dill, Radish, New Season Felsina Olive Oil

That was my starter as I love Dorset crab and Fennel! As you may guess, I loved it! Fresh and light, really what I expect for a starter.

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Sautéed Scallops, Broad Bean Puree, Crisp Pancetta, Truffle Oil

A great starter that can also be a great dish served in a larger proportion. The scallop is sautéed in butter and almost caramelized. Soft as butter, it really gets well with the crispy Pancetta served with it. The broad bean puree and truffle oil bring some more complexity to the whole dish and brings it one step further in comparison with many other places serving the same dish.

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Mains:

Fillet of Sea Bass, Globe Artichoke Puree, Lemon Oil, Parsley Salad

The fish was fresh and cooked to perfection, the Artichoke puree creamy and light and well enhanced by the lemon oil and fresh parsley salad.

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Grilled Corn Fed Chicken Breast, Asparagus, Jersey Royals, White Wine & Tarragon Sauce

That one was a very earthy dish, served with tasty potatoes, soft asparagus and light but powerful tarragon sauce.

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Seared Tuna, Insalata Primavera, Basil Mayonnaise

Not a huge fan of raw fish, this was not one of my choice obviously but the salad was fresh and crispy and the mayonnaise was very tasty too. And for those who like raw fish, it was cooked just the way they wanted it.

IMG_1303Desserts:

We were a bit disappointed indeed. By the presentation but also the taste….

Semifreddo Zabaglione, Confit Lemon, Baci Di Dama Biscuits

The Zabaglione was too sweet and not creamy enough, the confit lemon did not really sparkle and the biscuits were just adding some more sweetness to a dish that we expected to be more on the citrus feeling.

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A Selection of Ice Cream & Sorbets

The ice cream was OK but nothing to crave for in the future.

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Cheesecake, Hazelnut Base, Banana, Rum & Caramel Sauce

The cheesecake was actually the good surprise among the desserts. The hazelnut base brought some crispiness and flavor and the cream cheese batter was very airy and fresh. Not too sweet in order to enjoy the sweetness of the caramel sauce.

The portion was just the right size also…. Neither too big nor too small. A perfect ending!

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Basically, we were just delighted to have a great room to chat and to enjoy a wonderful dinner that we did not have to prepare. The privacy of the room makes it even more special as you are not disturbed by the noise of the other tables or the constant flow of the waiters.

Just keep in mind that you have to be at least 10 to book it and also that the waiting list can be very long in the week-end and the months before Christmas!

Oak London

137 Westbourne Park Road

Westbourne Grove

London W2 5QL

tel. 020 7221 3355

e-mail.sean@theoaklondon.com

http://www.theoaklondon.com/

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Dragoncello… one of the thing I miss the most in London beside my friends

20 May

Dragoncello is one of these restaurants that you really hesitate to share even with your best friends. You just want it to keeps on being a well-kept secret but that would not be fair for the owner Tobia Speranza and the chef Monserrato Marini who really deserve a great success.
For those of you who know the Westbourne area, Dragoncello is just walking distance from the trendy and crowded Westbourne, Bonaparte and The Oak pubs.
If for once you want to reward yourself with a treat but without the fuss of Michelin Star restaurant such as The Ledbury nearby, I think you have the right address!

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Dragoncello is a small but stylish restaurant. You immediately feel comfortable when you push the front door for lunch or dinner.
Most of the time, the owner is here to welcome you in person and drive you through the menu, wine list, specials and if needed, the chef will just pay a look over the window of his kitchen and add a comment!
As you have guessed already, the 2 of them are really good friends and that’s what makes that place so special. You just feel like invited at some friends place for a delicious Italian experience.
When it comes to food and wine, you won’t be disappointed. Just slow down with the chef’s Foccacia, that one is a real killer and once you start dipping it in the tasty olive oil, you just can’t stop….

Foccacia-Breads Basket and other treats
When asking to the chef how he gets it so moist and airy, the answer seems so obvious….. he lets it rise slowly in the oven at low temperature for a few hours to make it grow and start cooking at the same time. The result is simply terrific!
I will not comment the wine list as I -for the first time- let the owner choose for us. It was such a perfect match that we even had slightly too much!
And last but not least, food-wise, you just want to order the whole menu. I tried the Chef’s specialties: Linguine with Lobster. Only because Linguine is my favorite pasta! The sauce was delicate and brought together perfectly the Lobster with the linguine.
The salads are well balanced, fish and shellfish always fresh, cheese and ham well selected. I did not try the Burrata from Andria yet but I am sure you will and let me know that it was worth it!

Goat's Cheese Salad-Scampi-Lobster Linguine
Indeed, Dragoncello is one of those restaurants that knows how to create the perfect alchemy that will get you to come back on a regular basis. You are not only coming for the food but for the whole atmosphere, the chat with the owner by the till at the end of the service, the tips of the chef for the tomato sauce, the feeling that whatever happened earlier today or later tomorrow, right now, you simply feel good!

Dragoncello

104A Chepstow Rd London W2 5QS, UK
Email: info@dragoncello.co.uk
Phone: 0207 221 1821
Phone: 079 30 46 93 55