From the shores of Jersey to the heart of London, chef Shaun Rankin’s much-anticipated restaurant Ormer Mayfair arrives within the mirrored walls of the luxury boutique hotel, Flemings Mayfair. Resembling that of a townhouse brasserie; dimmed lighting, forest green velvet booths and white linen tables, it's no wonder one could get very comfortable here very quickly.
The quintessentially British, 1930’s-inspired space designed by Tony Filmer, also responsible for refreshing Flemings’ 129 guest rooms and suites, is awash with understated glamour and artistry. From hidden alcoves behind bronze and cast glass screens to long banquettes, the dining space is flexible for those dining alone, a deux or in larger groups. Those in search of mischief can even book what staff affectionately term ‘the naughty table’, a round table hidden by a heavy red velvet curtain.
As for the menu, chef Shaun Rankin remains true to his conviction that sustainably-sourced, locally foraged and seasonal produce is absolute – an ethos that earned his St Helier restaurant Ormer a Michelin star. The seasonal à la carte (including a dedicated vegetarian and vegan section) proved difficult to pick just one dish per person, so much so, my companion and I opted for three starters to share between us; the tartare of Scottish beef with horseradish panna cotta, nettle and watercress was mouth-wateringly delicious, however far too many flavours to suss out exactly what it was I were salivating for. The sweet Jersey lobster ravioli in a rich crab and tomato bisque with shallot salad is one of Shaun’s signature dishes and did not disappoint, this was paired with a lovely rioja 2015 wine while the heritage beets with goats cheese, kalamata sorbet and truffle honey dish was a delightful surprise of rich, intense flavours.
For the main, I opted for the roasted grouse - a winning dish served with blackberries, vanilla, purple cabbage and toasted grains. Again, Shaun Rankin prefers his intensely flavoured dishes, the smokiness of the grouse paired finely with the blackberries and vanilla, although the grains added a crunch, they needn't do much more than that. All dishes were also carefully curated with a wine pairing from Ormer Mayfair’s award-winning sommelier Andreas Rosendal who has previously curated the wine lists in some of the country’s finest restaurants
Save room for dessert as choices of dark chocolate brownie with sticky popcorn, salted caramel sauce and milk ice cream, and baked Alaska to share will be impossible to resist.
Diners should also head to the Manetta’s bar, hidden at the far end of the restaurant. Reviving the name of the original hang-out at Flemings back in the 1930s, the reinvented bar recaptures the surreptitious spirit of a place where spies used to swap secrets and clandestine trysts took place. A dark and sultry colour palette of black upholstery, polished rose gold detailing and jewel red hints in tactile materials of soft velvet and supple leather exudes sophisticated opulence.
Cosy up for a secretive tête-à-tête on one of the Sheraton-style sofas or pull up one of the beautiful red and black bar stools and watch master mixologists at work preparing expertly made aperitifs and digestifs. The cocktail menu is inspired by writers Agatha Christie and Gertrude Stein who are also depicted on the walls alongside portraits of James Joyce and Alice B. Toklas in the bold style of Sussex artist Kate Boxer.
Just as well there's a hotel upstairs, should you feel too cosy to leave!