A first glimpse at London’s hottest new openings, half price food and top rate service… is there anything better than a restaurant soft launch? Not in my opinion. Even better is when the launch is for the latest venture of two time Michelin starred chef Shaun Rankin.
As a part of a £15 million refurbishment, the Flemings Mayfair Hotel has managed to convince this Jersey based restaurateur to bring his local produce and passion for the island to London, with the opening of Ormer Mayfair.
I managed to snap up the last available dinner booking during the restaurant’s soft launch, which ends on the 19th September and invited my Dad for a night of Jersey’s finest in the heart of the city.
Upon arrival, we could see the refurbishment happening in parts of the lobby but were quickly shown to the restaurant entrance where we were encouraged to get a drink in next door Manetta’s bar before our 6.30pm reservation.
This beautiful Art Deco room is a classic representation of glamorous Mayfair interiors, dark wooden panels featuring famous literary portraits, illuminated with bronze and gold lighting.
After a few sips of my sweet Sauvignon Blanc, we were shown to our table. The restaurant is perfectly intimate, allowing the staff to cater to your every need.
As we sat and pondered over the menu, a basket of warm bread and salty butter with sea herbs were brought to the table.
Shortly after, a small plate of complimentary canapes were served. Two lobster and fennel brioche rolls, a delightful fresh bite of Jersey’s fresh flavours, so good that Dad managed to eat a second!
Studying the menu, I was immediately drawn to the selection of starters; tartare of Scottish beef, goat’s cheese with truffle honey, poached royal bay oysters with saffron linguine… I found it impossible to choose.
Our Italian waiter was wonderfully helpful, describing each plate before recommending the Jersey lobster ravioli with a crab and tomato bisque and shallot salad.
Being totally honest, I wasn’t expecting it have a slight Asian-style flavour (sometimes one of my less favourite cuisines) however it was positively delicious and the delicate pieces of lobster wrapped in fresh pasta were scrumptious.
The dish was a definite example of Shaun’s own creative take on fresh British produce.
Dad opted for the hand dived scallops, served with BBQ leeks, sea herbs and a lemon parsley vinaigrette. This was a plate of perfection. I had toyed between the lobster or this dish and had huge food envy after having a cheeky bite from Dad’s plate. If I was to recommend any part of our overall evening, it would be these silky soft scallops, the taste of which matched its pretty spring presentation.
For our mains, Dad chose the salt baked seabass. The dish came on two separate plates. A salad of artichoke three ways (roasted, diced and puree), tomato petals and pappardelle pasta, was decorated with saffron emulsion and black olive caramel puree, beautifully presented on an oval platter. The dish was also topped with parma ham which was not advised on the menu. Thankfully my Dad isn’t a fussy vegetarian although it would have been nice to know beforehand!
The fish was served inside an odd looking pastry case that we were told was edible… but not advised. Under the soft seabass was a collection of herbs; bay leaf, tarragon and thyme, that brought a wonderful fresh scent to the the fillet.
For my second course I decided on the Secreto of Iberico pork, (apparently Spain’s best kept secret) a meat I would rarely choose however the accompanying ingredients were too good to resist. Again the dish came separately. Rolls of calamari sat over a rich chorizo chutney, sprinkled with shaved fennel and pickled red onion. Sweet compressed Asian pear slices pickled in lime syrup also complimented the pork.
The meat was simply beautiful, pink and soft with a slightly charred coating. I was less keen on the calamari, it was slightly too black on the edges for my liking and the outer texture was a little odd but the rest of the dish was faultless.
Presented with the dessert menu, I was once again torn between dishes. The coconut mousse with white chocolate and pineapple sounded incredibly refreshing whilst the sound of the dark chocolate brownie drizzled in salted caramel, popcorn and milk ice cream made me drool.
After careful consideration, I eventually settled on the treacle tart, accompanied with clotted cream ice cream and fresh raspberries and mint.
It was a sound choice. The tart was sticky and smooth, with sweet ice cream and berries. I had no regrets.
Dad somehow resisted a pudding and instead had a comforting pot of Anhi Bar tea, served with a trio of petit fours.
As I finished the last crumb of sweet pastry we thought back on the overall experience, both agreeing that should we hopefully go to Jersey in the future, we will definitely head to Ormer for some more fresh scallops!
Before heading home, we were invited to meet the man himself and compliment Shaun on his fantastic food and wonderful creation at Flemings. He was a lovely gentleman, telling us about his love for Jersey and excited prospects for Ormer Mayfair.
After wishing him the best of luck, we thanked the incredible hospitable team and left with perfectly satisfied stomachs after our luxury three course meal at only £40 a head.
Ormer Mayfair is offering 50% off food until the 19th September. There are still a select few weekday lunchtime bookings available at OpenTable.