My mistake at The Orrey was ordering the pigs trotter. Our French waiter, oozing charm as they do, explained that the trotter was a homage to Pierre Koffman. Since I haven’t experienced Koffman’s famous trotter I decided to order The Orrey’s version. Big mistake. The trotter was so gelatinous and overwhelming that I felt almost physically ill only half way through. My cause wasn’t helped by the trotter’s accompaniment of an equally rich Madeira and truffle sauce and smooth, creamy mashed potato. I can’t compare the pigs trotter to Koffman’s version but I can say that The Orrey’s trotter was a step to far for me and I am a girl who is not averse to a bit of offal.
Scallop mousse with truffle foam
The Koffman homage was a result of The Orrey’s chef, Igor Tymchyshyn, previously working with Koffman. The dish is testament to the restaurants high aspirations, Tymchyshyn previously held a Michelin star at Mirabelle and has said publicly that he is trying to regain The Orrey’s Michelin star which it lost two years ago. You can imagine that The Orrey is the type of restaurant that would tick a Michelin inspectors boxes. The service is Rolls Royce standard with a virtual bevy of French waiters at each table. The dining room itself is an airy thin room with lots of sparkling cutlery, starched linen napkins and circular windows that look out over Marylebone High street.
Gazpacho with basil mousse
The wine list is extensive with a focus on French wines but there were not very many choices under the £30 mark and we ended up with a bottle of Syrah recommended by the sommelier which was of course not from France at all and a little too robust. The menu itself is set at three courses for £48, two for £43 or the tasting menu for £59. MTV boyfriend and I were not wowed by the options on the tasting menu so opted for a la carte instead although our waiter kindly allowed us to order dishes from both. This way, we worked our way through quite a few of the options on the menu. Most were hits such as the entree of ethereal scallop mousse slathered with an earthy truffle foam and puffs of pastry filled with melted, pungent cheese as amusé bouchés. However, tiny glasses of gazpacho topped with basil foam were perhaps a little tired and the flavour of the foam was overwhelmed by the soup.
I couldn’t fault the tornedos rossini though (that’s fillet steak topped with foie gras for those of us with school girl level French only). It was prime beef, expertly aged and exquisitely prepared. As for the chocolate fondant, even the Masterchef team would have been impressed. Crisp on the outside then filled with smooth, velvet chocolate sauce on the inside it was a chocoholics dream. On top of that, there is a sumptuous cheese board which clearly takes advantage of the restaurants proximity to La Fromagerie. Groaning with different varieties of French cheese it was wheeled around the room to the delight of all the diners.
The cooking at The Orrey reflects great skill in the kitchen and enormous effort. However, there were a few misses, in particular the pigs trotter. For the £200 our meal for two cost (including wine) I would probably prefer to go the whole Michelin star hog at a restaurant like The Square.
Details: 55 Marylebone High Street, Marylebone W1U 5RB (Ph 020 7616 8000) Tube: Baker Street
Damage: Budget Breaking