55 Marylebone High St, W1
WHAT AND WHERE? This French neighbourhood restaurant in an increasingly upmarket Marylebone has been around for 20 years, but it’s just had a spring spruce up of its menu and decor. It’s in a beautifully converted stable block, with leafy courtyard views and a casual cafe downstairs.
WHAT’S THE DEAL? Two courses for £25 and three courses for £29. Don’t be caught out by the supplementary charges sprinkled throughout, though; the lamb wellington alone will add another £20 to the bill.
WHAT’S ON THE MENU? Five or six options per course, plus sides to bulk it out. Chances are you won’t need to though, with the mains including two hefty servings of beef, salmon and sea bass, an artichoke risotto and that lamb wellington, a pastry-encrusted piece de resistance. Starters are daintier, with a selection of soups and seafood, but the menu changes depending on what’s available throughout the season.
Lamb wellington with salsify and potato mousseline
ANY RECOMMENDATIONS? The smoked haddock was an unexpected highlight. Peppered tomatoes and fresh pea puree nestled underneath, while various types of chorizo added texture. Elsewhere, sturdy blocks of beetroot sweetened up the sliced and seared minute steak. Luxuriating in a red wine jus, the horseradish could have been punchier, but a decadent, creamy potato mousseline, with a truffle perm more than makes up for it.
IS IT VEGGIE FRIENDLY? You’ve a choice of starters on the set lunch menu, the first a serving of mozzarella on poached pear with truffle honey, the second a similarly truffle-ish vegetable soup (this time with the truffle on the croutons) served with a single soft-poached duck egg. There’s only one main here – and I warn you that it’s a risotto – but it’s at least a very interesting one, served as a thin layer at the bottom of a dish that resembles a dog bowl, and decorated in jerusalem artichoke crisps. Almost unidentifiable as a risotto, it is a delightful cold-weather comfort food. Orrery also has a six-course vegetarian tasting menu, though you’ll be late back to the office if you attempted it in your lunch break.
Spiced pineapple tart with coconut ice cream, also part of the lunch menu
NEED TO BOOK? Call 020 7616 8000 or visit orrery-restaurant.co.uk or arrive early to nab a table at the no-reservations, 40-cover terrace, which will be joy when spring finally arrives.
THE VERDICT… A Marylebone staple beloved by locals, Orrery has evolved alongside the neighbourhood. Its updated seasonal menu is bound to draw diners from all across the city.