The Oak Room
There is a fluency, and an historical knowledge, to Norbert Neylon's cookery that few chefs are fortunate to share.
Right from the days when he was a youthful winner of the fiercely competitive Eurotoques Young Chef of the Year competition, Mr Neylon had an expert consciousness of global cooking styles, and of the background and culture of those styles, and he also showed the ability to detly deliver whatever he wanted to cook. So whilst his selection of starters will offer a cordon bleu classic like deep-fried brie with a cranberry and apple compote, he will also offer an Oriental-style beef salad with chilli, lime and coriander, and push the envelope with 8-hour lamb shoulder with roasted root vegetables.
His skill allows him to have a menu that is diverse, yet utterly assured, so there are classy comfort foods such as his excellent fish pie, and slow-braised beef with parsnip mash, and there is a burger with fries that you would walk all the way to Cavan for. Mr Neylon knows his audience, and he cooks for them respectfully: he knows they might feel ike steak on a Friday evening, but then crave grilled chicken salad with tosted pumpkin seeds on a Tuesday night.
The Oak Room is calm, colourful and comfortable, and nice and boisterous on the weekends, and value for money is really exceptional. Parents should note especially a brilliant children's menu – Mr Neylon has the next generation of dinner guests already sussed – and the vegetarian menu is similarly classy.
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