Above the streets and stress of London hides a glorious rooftop at Orrery in Marylebone, an elegant and sophisticated restaurant that serves divine French classics in a contemporary way.
All day I had been cruising their menu, shamefully salivating at my desk and counting down the hours until ‘home time’. When it eventually came, my friend and I had barely turned off our computers before running towards the nearest taxi, screeching ‘Orrery!’. Luckily for us, our taxi driver was well acquainted with the venue, having previously gone regularly with his now ex-wife – “It was her favourite restaurant in London”, it seemed ‘previously’ was the operative word, “I daren’t go back in case I see her again, which is a shame as it’s absolutely fabulous.” You know if a cabbie refers to somewhere as absolutely fabulous, it jolly well should be.
Our anticipation was high, especially as my friend and I were in a celebratory mood. In the last week I had handed in my notice at work and my friend had found a lovely man to woo her. It crossed my mind that perhaps the maître d’ could tell, as he handed us a glass of ice cold Moët and recommended a beautifully fragrant Marlborough sauvignon blanc for the occasion.
We shared two opposing but equally delicious starters – a plate of earthy and rich potato ravioli with butter emulsion and summer truffle, and Dorset crab with mango, avocado purée and coriander, which was fresh with zesty mango and sweet crab, and one of the prettiest dishes I have eaten in a while.
I can never resist lamb, so I was keen to sample the difference between milk-fed leg and braised shoulder, twinned on the same plate. It was superb and tender, with a moreish sweetness, served with spring vegetables and a rosemary jus. Our second main course of black leg chicken, pork belly, asparagus and wild mushroom velouté was delightfully moist and flavoursome, with the mushrooms lending the dish a splendid woody richness.
For dessert, we chose a blackberry bavarois with blackberry sorbet, and vanilla crème brûlée with pistachio and cherries. They were both sublime and creamy, with sharp fruit and different textures thanks to the use of pastry and caramelised nuts.
We left the restaurant on a rather tempestuous, rainy summer evening, however, not even the weather could move the smug and satisfied smiles from our faces. Expressions like ‘faultless’ and ‘impeccable’ are sometimes used disingenuously. However, Orrery’s dishes are faultless and the service is impeccable. In fact, it’s absolutely fabulous.
55 Marylebone High Street