Polpo is – and always will be, I suspect – one of my favourite places to eat in London: who could resist those cosy interiors and tables piled high with pizzette and fritto misto? Well, since moving to Islington I would say that this tiny stop-in on Upper Street – opened in 2015 by the Polpo Group’s former chef director Tom Oldroyd – gives it a run for its money. Sandwiched between a brick-red kebab joint and hot-pink nail spa, Oldroyd is a soothing sight with its grey-blue façade and subtle typeface. The simplicity continues inside, with a small kitchen and even smaller menu; there are a handful of wooden tables and chairs on the first floor and a few more up a narrow staircase (best to book ahead).
The European menu changes daily and consists of sharing plates that centre around British seasonal ingredients. Whatever you choose you won’t be disappointed, from the grilled sardines to the spinach-and-ricotta malfatti. Just a few words of warning vis-à-vis the wild-mushroom croquetas with truffle mayonnaise: you would be mad to miss them.
Oldroyd, 344 Upper Street, London, N1 0PD.
Main Photo: Oldroyd.
Dessert Photo: Chloë Ashby.