Lorne review: a sensation of British, seasonal dishes with a nod to the exotic
Tempus discovers a głowy, neighbourhood haunt in the heart of the Big Smoke
With Christmas come and gone and any sign of Spring feeling distant at best, no time of year feels more welcoming of an evening out for a delicious supper than this.
Bracing ourselves against the wintry elements of the Big Smoke, we headed to Lorne: an unfussy yet elegant eatery perched between Victoria and Pimlico.
Upon arriving, our pink noses and bundles of coats and scarves were quickly swapped for a far cosier affair as we settled into corner seats, taking in the relaxed opulence of our surroundings (think trailing pot plants, pale wood, cool marble, and candlelit tables).
Glasses of Veuve Fourny Blanc de Blancs Champagne in hand, we delighted in perusing the menu: a celebration of seasonal, contemporary British fare. Each dish sounding more delectable than the next, we dove in with not two but three starters, opting for Cornish white crab, turnip tagliatelle, bisque, monks beard, deep fried capers; Glazed celeriac, pickled pear, endive, radicchio, radish, mustard seeds, truffle & pecorino cream and my personal favourite, Baby artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, coppa, BBQ brassicas, rosemary butter, hazelnut, puffed quinoa: each dish an edible work of art.
The dishes at Lorne are inventive without being pretentious, the adventurous yet perfectly balanced flavours the work of some serious kitchen pedigree. And kitchen pedigree is something that this restaurant is by no means short of. Both Katie Exton (owner and front of house) and Graham Brown (head chef) have under their belts some serious restaurant royalty, including the Square, the River Cafe, and Chez Bruce.
While Brown works his magic in the kitchen, sending up the likes of Crispy veal sweetbread, Comtè bavarois, Maderia jelly, Parmesan tuile and Treacle marinated onglet, creamed potatoes, glazed carrots, thyme crumb, red wine sauce to gleeful diners, Exton effortlessly glides from table to table offering up recommendations from the expertly-crafted wine list.
For me, it is in its contrasts that lies Lorne’s success: an inner city spot with an unmistakably neighbourhood feel; a celebration of native produce with a definite nod to the exotic; an oasis of glowy warmth on a bitter winter’s night. And if there is any restaurant who’s success can be attributed to it’s owners, it’s Lorne, where Katie and her team, through a combination of hard graft, deep knowledge and pure talent have created a delicious hangout that has locals and visitors alike returning for more again and again.