The Oak – Polished Mediterranean Cuisine in W12
The Oak W12 is the domestic gastropub of chic SheBu.
To hell with ‘authenticity’ (another name for ‘shabbiness’); the rise of gastropubs is a godsend for gourmands and flamboyant drinkers with panache (another term for borderline alcoholics with a penchant for tiny bright coloured umbrellas). Wherever you go in London, the inert failsafe of social butterflies is the local gastropub. The Oak is situated in that magical zone on the borderlands of Chiswick and Shephard’s Bush. This means that the yummy mummies are on Chiswick High Road on the next street over, whilst the hooded youths stay put meandering around Westfield. This leaves hip young professionals, C-list actors, up-market rock stars, and classic BBC drama producers as the remaining clientele of the Oak. Frequented by such celebrities as Gore Vidal, Henry Kissinger, and Mel B, the Oak Shepherds Bush provides an airy, well-groomed pub and dining room as their backdrop to excellent wood-fired pizzas and Spanio-Italian fusion cuisine. The Oak W12 menu is filled with pizza, pasta, salads, and your sublimated traumatic childhood memories.
The ambiance is a sort of blasé-chic: mahogany leather sofas next to ceiling-high wine racks (no small feat considering the remarkable heights of their rooms) with a view to the open kitchen. Think of the Oak kitchen as the cooler, more sophisticated cousin of Pizza Express. The lounge rooms adjacent to the sit-down dinner areas are vast slumbering beasts adorned with minimal lighting and crowned with Renaissance-inspired largesse mirrors. As would be expected, their menu is seasonal. It caters to both guests joining them for a few drinks and nibbles (plenty of charcuterie dining boards and assortments of gratifyingly naughty croquettas), and laid back diners wanted a good bottle of Chablis with their zucchini pizza. The Oak Bar is a location where you can order drinks.
Starters are as light and fresh as the feel of the Oak Hammersmith: the pan seared scallops with bolotti bean puree and smoked pancetta are done to perfection, being as they are on the slight chewy edge of buttery succulence. The fritto misto is a passionate handful of zucchini, prawns, and calamari flung onto the plate with all the fervour of young lovers flinging the object of their desire onto a bed. Antipasta and sides of spinach, patate bravas, and wild rocket salad are all solid additions to a full table without detracting from the mains. For mains, the roast cod, and seared tuna with cavolo nero, quinoa, balsamic onion and salsa verde stand out as the most delectable alternatives to their pizza. And this is the main culinary reason to go to the Oak. All pizzas come crisp and draped on plates sizable enough for a cat to fall asleep on. The aforementioned zucchini pizzas comes off as the emperor of the menu: the tomato and buffalo mozzarella base is given a new life with lashings of grilled courgette, salted ricotta, wild rocket, and a healthy drizzle of truffle oil. If you have any room left over, latch onto the thick, nutty chocolate salami to push you over the edge of your Calligula-eqsue pizza experience.
The drinks menu is at the discretion of the bar tender. Usually this means a short list of well-crafted wines and some adorning classic cocktails.
If you’re in the Goldhawk road area, definitely check out pizza shepherds bush for an excellent Mediterranean restaurant London based.
The Oak W12 is located at 243 Goldhawk Road, London, W12 8EU
Open daily from 6pm-11pm; until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays