L’Ortolan – Local Luxury

Oh my this was a wonderful meal to finish up the Christmas period and even better we shared the experience with Sam and Alice, my step son and his better half. L’Ortolan is based in a beautiful house in Shinfield, absolutely delightful, drinks in the conservatory or bar, a chance to sit at the Chefs Table should you desire, delightful staff, all you could wish for. My one comment would be that Chef Alan Murchison has now left so I cant tell you what the food is like currently but I cant imagine it wouldn’t be wonderful and if I get another chance to review then I will let you know.

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As always one of my favourite parts of any meal are the canapes and these did not disappoint. We had the most amazing champagne cocktails to go with them which and this set the tone to our evening of decadent deliciousness

Now the drawback of having a great time, dining with friends and not intending to do an official review is that I have naturally lost all memory of the details. I have the memory of a very small amoeba with a small memory so that isnt great. Therefore I cant remember what the delicious amuse bouche was but my brain is making mention of a delicious veloute.

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On the left is confit salmon, pickled mouli, wasabi and kecap. The salmon had a wonderful texture, smooth, rich and delicious – gosh a little like my taste in men! I loved the mouli and wasabi but the kecap didn’t have as much of an impact as I thought it might, I think it was waiting outside the back door of the dish.

On the right was the duck terrine, poached pear and spiced granola. Apologies for the poor quality of the photograph but be assured the dish itself was excellent, again the way the duck was cosying up with the pear and granola was spectacular. L’Ortolan are geniuses (geni??) at flavour matching. I wish we had ordered the wine pairing now as I am sure it would have been amazing but sadly not enough money right after Christmas!

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Ooh how exciting is the dish on the left. Devon crab, soft shell tempura, passion fruit, coconut was such an exciting combination, whoever put this together may be taking illicit substances, (all such comments to be taken as a compliment and not a slur!!).

On the right, managing to follow the mind blowing crab dish and then some is the goose liver parfait, pain d’epices, poached rhubarb and sloe gin jelly. Look at the colours in my badly taken photo, imagine the aroma and then envy your vision of the taste of the different ingredients with the different textures. What a stunner.

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Yay a big lump of pan fried stone bass with Jerusalem artichoke and smoked pomme purée. This was a perfect example of how the quality of the ingredients and the expertise in the cooking makes a fantastic result which is better than the sum of the parts.


How amazing is this – for all you cheese fetishists this is a taste of the cheese that they bring out to see if you fancy a touch of cheese!! If you like cheese then go to L’Ortolan. Full stop.


Sorry not a clue, mate it was late in the evening, I have been in Thailand for a month, what am I, a miracle memory person? I dont remember it not being marvellous though.



Right, I have run out of words and memory now. There was deliciousness, there was crunch and tang and sweet and tasty but I hit my Mr Creosote moment after the cheese and knew that just a ‘wafer thin mint’ would destroy me. Those around me said it was all delicious and I believe them.

Do go to L’Ortolan and you will love it. I paid for my own meal.

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