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Ooze Risotto Bar


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Its an idea that should work in theory - almost exactly the same model as a pizza restaurant right? (in fact ooze menu very similar to chain pizza joint menu except rice not pizza) ie high gross margin fill-em-up-with-cheap-carbs dish. make money on high volumes, starters, wine.

In practice you do wonder given thought whole point of good risotto is its NOT quick and instant cos of importance of lots of stirring etc. yes you can take shortcuts but then you often end up with a rice bake a la works canteen (although NB delia smiths oven baked risotto - effectively a savoury rice pudding isn't bad apparently) which is fine, but its not risotto.

Basically I worry if they can make risotto "instant" without compromising its quality. Then again crap quality of product not necessarily bar to success - cf Square Pie "spot the microcosm of meat in the pie if you can" Company.

We shall see. One-trick ponies do sometimes work (e.g. S&M cafe, square pie company, pizza express). So long as they're not too gimmicky (e.g. the infamous Blue Belt)

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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My problem with risotto is that no matter how good the first mouthful, the experience goes downhill from there. Flavour/texture fatigue always gets me well before the end of the dish.

Ooze seems like a missed opportunity: a tappas element would get around one of The Big Problems With Risotto.

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I cooked risotto the other night for the first time in a while and however much I enjoy it I too find them a bit one dimensional (if you can be "a bit one dimensional"), great for a few bites but after that they lose their shine. Definitely a starter thing for me.

Edited by Matthew Grant (log)

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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I agree with you Matthew and Graham, nice as a starter or an accompaniment to something, but on their own they are a little dull. The last time I made one as a main course, as much as I enjoyed it, I just found it was too much of the same texture and flavour.

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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I get it but I can see why it can become too much for some as a main. However, my favourite pick me up to the blandest of risotto's is to sprinkle loads of pangrattato on top (breadcrumbs whizzed in a food processor with oil and flavourings - my fave is with anchovies, their oil, garlic & dried chillis - then toasted in a frypan until crisp)

While I do love the mildest of risotto's for their delicacy and texture, pangrattato on risotto puts me into a feeding frenzy that has to be ended before I burst from starch overload! :raz:

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i tried three different risotti:

rare grilled steak on top of red wine and roasted onion risotto

seared tuna on top of a south of italy zesty red sauced risotto

butternut squash and hazelnut risotto with fresh sage.

all were good, and the rare steak and seared tuna garnish gave a nice bite of something to contrast with the rest.......i've been sort of obsessed with risotto since my visit..........

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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seared tuna on top of a south of italy zesty red sauced risotto

Sounds lovely - what's in that?

i would say simply a robust risotto made with tomatoes and no cream, prob not cheese either, a marinara-type sauce, garlic, oregano......possibly no onion.......not sure about that last one.....but it tasted deliciously like the mezzogiorno, the south of italy......it was topped with a slice of very rare seared tuna. very nice. why don't you ring and ask for their recipe? they might share.....esp if you don't live in london...if you do, just pop down and have a taste and see what you think might be in it......i don't quite remember any more than that as was drinking quite of bit of champagne through the evening, and did taste a number of the risotti.

if i were living in town i'd have a bowl and make a full report. but i'm out in hampshire.....

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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seared tuna on top of a south of italy zesty red sauced risotto

Sounds lovely - what's in that?

i would say simply a robust risotto made with tomatoes and no cream, prob not cheese either, a marinara-type sauce, garlic, oregano......possibly no onion.......not sure about that last one.....but it tasted deliciously like the mezzogiorno, the south of italy......it was topped with a slice of very rare seared tuna. very nice. why don't you ring and ask for their recipe? they might share.....esp if you don't live in london...if you do, just pop down and have a taste and see what you think might be in it......i don't quite remember any more than that as was drinking quite of bit of champagne through the evening, and did taste a number of the risotti.

if i were living in town i'd have a bowl and make a full report. but i'm out in hampshire.....

marlena

thank you!

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i tried three different risotti:

rare grilled steak on top of red wine and roasted onion risotto

seared tuna on top of a south of italy zesty red sauced risotto

butternut squash and hazelnut risotto with fresh sage.

all were good, and the rare steak and seared tuna garnish gave a nice bite of something to contrast with the rest.......i've been sort of obsessed with risotto since my visit..........

marlena

I have to ask Marlena, were you there announced or unannounced?

Jay

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i tried three different risotti:

rare grilled steak on top of red wine and roasted onion risotto

seared tuna on top of a south of italy zesty red sauced risotto

butternut squash and hazelnut risotto with fresh sage.

all were good, and the rare steak and seared tuna garnish gave a nice bite of something to contrast with the rest.......i've been sort of obsessed with risotto since my visit..........

marlena

I have to ask Marlena, were you there announced or unannounced?

i was part of a large group, it was a party for the opening, friends of the owners and i just tagged along. i saw no one i knew and no one seemed to know me. but i was sort of announced..... sadly i don't think anyone cared. the owners were really nice but didn't seem to know anything about me. of course i told them, but it was too late to change the risotto then. anyhow i had already eaten two of them and was fork-into the third.....

i would hope that the quality of the risotto would not have slipped since then because it hasn't been that long and they seemed so very enthusiastic about risotto..... i'd like to hope that in this short period of time they would still keep to the basics: pretty good rice, stock, not too rich, not too cheesey, quite tasty......nothing fancy but very satisfying.

i must admit though that after three samplings of risotto, all i wanted was a pizza when i passed one walking to the tube.....texture, i needed crisp texture! (they do have salad, i just didn't have any).

they did get me into a mega risotto moon though..... i came back from amalfi with tons of lemons and its been lemon risotto for marlena....parmigiana risotto....butternet sqauash risotto.....yeah, i'm one of the converted now.

Edited by marlena spieler (log)

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Their tag line ... "Slow food, cooked fast" ... isn't that also used by an Italian cafe near St John? Anyway, this really does sound like a Dragons Den pitch. It's certainly the first restauant I've seen to thank both the bank and its investors on the website.

Perhaps the concept has come from consumer research. After all, pretty much every mid-market eatery in London has a risotto on the menu, which suggests there is a demand. And, as the website concedes, there is a general dissatisfaction with the product itself, which to an investor usually indicates a gap in the market.

What the backers probably didn't consider is that risotto in Britain is almost always the vegetarian choice. It's being ordered by people who didn't really want it in the first place, and who are only in the venue because the person they are with wants to eat something else entirely. Basing your business on an already stigmatised product that's ordered by necessity rather than choice, by people who tend not to be all that enthusiastic and adventurous about food in general seems ... brave.

While we're here: can anyone guess what their secret, ultra-quick cooking method may be? Is it wildly different from the catering standard mentioned in Bourdain's first book? (Ie. make a huge pot and cook it to within a minute of being ready, then keep it chilled for the duration of service so you can finish off each individual order by adding blocks of cheese and butter.) I was under the impression that this shortcut method was the cause of the claggy, over-rich, three-spoons-and-you're-bored problem they're aiming to avoid.

Edited by naebody (log)
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While we're here: can anyone guess what their secret, ultra-quick cooking method may be? Is it wildly different from the catering standard mentioned in Bourdain's first book? (Ie. make a huge pot and cook it to within a minute of being ready, then keep it chilled for the duration of service so you can finish off each individual order by adding blocks of cheese and butter.) I was under the impression that this shortcut method was the cause of the claggy, over-rich, three-spoons-and-you're-bored problem they're aiming to avoid.

Don't no what their method is, but NB it is also possible to part cook a risotto, leave it to cool and then finish for service.

There is a good description of this method in Gordon Ramsay's first book, Formulas for Flavour.

J

PS Leaving aside the food and concept I wish the Ooze folks the best of luck. It's a big risk taking on the financial and personal burdens of opening something like that in the West End. I'm sure enormous hours of effort have been put into it. All the best - I wish I could be as brave as them!

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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