After a lengthy refit last summer Odos Mediterranean Kitchen, near Hadley Green, has really hit the ground running since opening last October.
I enjoyed a solo lunch there back in November and, due to their popularity, only recently managed to secure a table to return with my family for dinner. However, I have to say, it was worth the wait.
The menu is the same for lunch and dinner and, with small dishes, you can mix and match accordingly. It was trickier when I was there on my own as I was keen to try a few things, but a group can share a selection of things and really experience the menu. Food is prepared swiftly in the open kitchen and with a great deal of confidence and flair. The ingredients are beautifully fresh, flavours clear and vibrant and you immediately sense you are in capable hands. What’s more, it’s a wonderful pick-me-up during the winter and as the weather improves, they’ll open the doors and it will feel truly Mediterranean (as much as Barnet allows!). Owner Louis was previously behind Bar Meze in St Albans and Carob Tree in Highgate.
Starters include complimentary olives and bread which are brought to the table as soon as you arrive. Of the dips, tangy, lemony taramasalata stood out and from the raw selection, the seared tuna with soy, sesame and ginger was fabulous. Roasted cauliflower with chilli, yoghurt and almonds was full of flavour and a taster dish (complimentary) of baby leeks with romesco sauce was very tasty and authentically Catalan (like the traditional winter dish of calcots). Smaller dishes range from £4 to £8.
At dinner recently I got to try some main courses and wanting to try fish and seafood, settled on grilled squid (£14) to share as a starter and a fish main. The other starter was miso aubergine with almonds and sesame (£8). Our lamb-loving daughter had the best-end chops (£16) and we pushed the boat out and shared the brill on the bone for two (£45) with triple cooked chips with thyme salt (£4) and Greek salad with barrel-aged feta (£6). The squid was nicely charred and tasty, but the aubergine is a particularly good dish – richly savoury with a lovely sticky texture and garnished with crunchy almonds and pomegranate. A brilliantly balanced dish (and vegan).
The star of the show, however, was the grilled fish. These are listed on a couple of blackboards and start at £20 for sea bream cooked on the bone. Our brill was a real treat. Expertly cooked with dark, crisp skin and tender moist flesh and almost too large to fit on our table. There is something so special about a large fish cooked in this way (like rib of beef for meat lovers) and, yes, it’s an expense, but it’s not something you forget in a hurry (and let’s face it, fish stocks are depleting). This fish had a lot of meat as there was as much on the underside – the staff helped remove the bones, so it was easy to deal with and would have gone further. Daughter was very happy with her chops and was particularly taken by the huge chips.
I couldn’t persuade the others to have dessert, but I found space for crema Catalan with burnt blood orange £6) which was a delicious end to the meal, although the grilled peach, rose water sorbet and rose syrup (£6) and the white chocolate and passion fruit pannacotta (£5) also sounded tempting. The wine list has some interesting Mediterranean options including wines from Greece and Cyprus with several available by the glass. There’s a selection of cocktails too. We fortified ourselves with some port before heading back home in the dismal weather.
Odos is a really exciting addition to the High Street, but book in advance especially for evenings.
Tuesday to Friday: 12-3pm; 6-10pm