As an Australian I of course have a soft spot for Aussie lamb, but I still could not resist an invitation to Odette’s for a special lamb lunch hosted by Eat Welsh Lamb and cooked by Williams. The restaurant is tucked away in a street adjoining Primrose Hill itself and the place is small but smart with leather banquette seating, rich fabrics and white linen clad tables.
We started with two appetisers which were dishes that Williams serves up for the staff dinner at Odette’s, lamb spare ribs and lamb koftas. All I can say is lucky staff! The lamb spare ribs were a revelation, similar to the more common pork spare ribs in taste and burnished to a sticky caramalised state in the oven. Lamb koftas were served as mini burgers topped with a yoghurt sauce and sandwiched in small buns. The meat was densely packed and well flavoured with spices and seasoning.
|Lamb fillet with cous cous|
Williams wanted to show us that lamb was about more than just a Sunday roast, so after the appetisers, the first dish on the tasting menu was slivers of lamb fillets topping a lemon scented cous cous. The quality of the meat shone through in this simple treatment. Similarly Welsh lamb chops were unadorned and teamed with chick peas cooked in the meat juice so they had absorbed all the flavours.
|Lamb chop with chickpeas|
The best dish though was Odette’s take on the traditional lamb Sunday roast. Williams slow cooks a leg of lamb for three hours over finely sliced potatoes which are flavoured with the fat from the meat as it drips down as they cook. The lamb was incredibly tender and the potatoes had a great depth of flavour. “This is what I do for friends and family at home because it is in the oven and you forget about it,” said Wiliams.
|Slow roasted lamb|
At Odette’s the food is underpinned by a timely philosophy, good produce, treated with respect. What we at was not fancy, it was just simple, honest cooking. Williams claims his love of Welsh lamb is not just patriotic, “I don’t use it because it is Welsh, I use it because it is good,” he said.
I think he may just have converted me to the cause.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Eat Welsh Lamb
Details: Odette’s, 130 Regents Park Road, Primrose Hill NW1 8XL, United Kingdom (Ph 020 7586 8569) Tube: Chalk Farm
Damage: Pricey. We had a special menu which we did not pay for but usually a tasting menu at Odette’s is £50.