In central London, it’s never difficult to find either a good pub or a nice restaurant. However, it’s not always so easy to find a great gastro pub, which performs both functions at once. Normally, they are tucked away in London’s more leafy postcodes. Still, there are some that exist, and without a doubt, Bloomsbury’s The Lady Ottoline is a prime example. Just off Gray’s Inn Road, The Lady Ottoline serves refined yet traditional British cuisine. While at first glance the menu may seem a bit basic, all of the dishes are well executed and are made with high quality produce.
As a starter, the ham hock croquette and crispy pigs’ ears shouldn’t be feared as there’s nothing on the plate that your palate won’t like; quite the opposite. If available, the lobster, clams and mussels risotto is very pleasant too. Not too creamy, nor too fishy; there is a harmonious balance between all of the tastes. The classic smoked mackerel pâté is an excellent example of what it should be and it’s perfect to share for a pre-dinner bite.
For mains, the lobster with garlic and butter sauce is very nice. The flesh of the shellfish is very tender and the sauce doesn’t overpower its delicacy. The 35 days aged sirloin is another choice you won’t be disappointed with, especially with its side of triple-cooked chips. Not greasy at all, they are perfectly thick, fluffy, salted and tasty.
Then, the dessert and cheese menu might tempt you for a last course. While the poached pear tart filling is a bit bland, the pastry is fresh and the accompanying apple sorbet is delicious. In general, The Lady Ottoline’s range of ice-creams and sorbets shouldn’t be missed. Though if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you should ask the waiter what cheeses they have in their selection for that day.
So overall, The Lady Ottoline is an address which should always be kept in mind for a casual dinner if you’re somewhere between The City and King’s Cross. The food is non-pretentious but wonderfully prepared. The charming decor and atmosphere only help to make your evening all the more enjoyable.