Wednesday 6 June 2007

Ooze Riotto Bar Review

Cowie, Edwin, Anna and I went off to Ooze last night for a long overdue catch up over a half price dinner courtesy of my Taste London card. Cowie and I have been looking forward to trying Ooze out for quite a while. I've driven past it quite a few times in a taxi on my way to Charlotte Street and always wonder what it's like. Reviews have been mixed. I remember Jay Rayner went mental about how awful the All Day Breakfast risotto was:

The Observer, 12 November
Jay Rayner
does not enjoy the unfortunately named risotto restaurant Ooze, in Goodge Street, London

"If only there had been a straight up saffron risotto on the menu, or one with wild mushrooms and nothing else. Instead, everything is overworked, and the risottos - priced from £8 to £10 - become less a medium than a base. The wild mushroom risotto comes inexplicably with cherry tomatoes. There's sea bass risotto with more cherry tomatoes, olives and basil. Or there's the one I tried (so you wouldn't have to), the all-day breakfast risotto: loose and watery (rather than creamy) rice, mined with fatty chunks of undercooked pancetta, two small Spanish sausages on top, and piled off to the side, a heap of warmed but not cooked cherry tomatoes. Buried inside was a poached egg which, when split, only added to the wateriness. (Meal for two, including wine and service, £60)."

Given the disappointing review above I was intrigued to see if they had changed their menu and responded to the problems mentioned by concentrating on the classics and not getting carried away with crazy concoctions.

It's safe to say that they have. My porcini risotto was exceptionally good. Full of mmushroomy depth... although would have been nice if it had been made with un-reconstituted mushrooms as the dried ones seem to make me fart a lot! Anna's Milanese was delicious. Full of safron and tasting slightly of lemon to match its sharp yellow colouring.

Mains were good too. Our tuna was beautifully raw in the middle and charred on the outside. Just how we like it. But my beans were a bit undercooked and chalky which was a shame. Anna's lamb chump looked delicious too.

We thought we'd make the most of the half price menu so tucked into delicious deserts. Anna's baked Alaska looked impressive and Cowie's crumbled was extremely good too. But neither were any where near as good as the chocolate fondant that Edwin and I tucked into. This was true ooze. Chocolate spreading out from the centre and smothering my plate. You know when you've had a good pudding because you wolf it down and then hear from Cowie, "I didn't want to try it anyway!".... roughly translated as "how dare you eat it all... I've got food envy."

Here's our comment card for a slightly shorer review. Well done Ooze. Bloody good risotto. But would love to see some proper mushrooms in the risotto and a slightly more interesting range. Also, could be worth exploring quinoa and kemut grain risottos too for all those people trying to get lower GI carbs into their diets. Maybe they'll put something on their Ooze blog about it. I'm impresed by their use of blogging as a way of keeping their business in perpetual beta.

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