Or­rery Maryle­bone

France and Bri­tain unite for a wor­thy culi­nary cause at this so­phis­ti­cated neigh­bour­hood restau­rant

Food and Travel (UK) - - Tried & Tasted -

When it was launched by Sir Ter­ence Con­ran ex­actly 20 years ago, this Maryle­bone stal­wart shot to promi­nence as the me­dia in­dus­try’s dar­ling. Now it has as­sumed a more dig­ni­fied role as an el­e­gant neigh­bour­hood spot for dis­cern­ing lo­cals and in-the-know busi­ness types from the sur­round­ing area.

Old timers will be de­lighted to hear that the charm­ing decor has changed very lit­tle. Housed in the orig­i­nal Bur­tons Sta­ble Build­ing, the long, slim din­ing room has lovely views over St Maryle­bone Parish Church Gar­dens through arched win­dows. Green leather seat­ing and white table­cloths keep the at­mos­phere smart and stylish, while the large roof ter­race is one of W1’s best-kept se­crets. Our visit falls on a fairly warm au­tumn’s evening, so we be­gin with a glass of crisp Lau­rent-Per­rier cham­pagne un­der the but­ter-yel­low awnings.

When it first opened Or­rery dealt al­most ex­clu­sively in French clas­sics, but Ukra­nian chef pa­tron Igor Tym­chyshyn has breathed a new lease of life into the menus since his ar­rival in 2008. Now the fo­cus is on mod­ern French tech­niques with Bri­tish in­gre­di­ents, while the pre­sen­ta­tion has all the flair of mod­ernist paint­ings. Dorset sea bass lux­u­ri­ates in a herb crust the colour of cut grass along­side vivid cir­cles of star anise sauce stud­ded with mi­cro herbs, while sal­mon ce­viche ar­rives scat­tered with cubes of co­conut and radish, which con­trib­ute a pleas­ing crunch. When it comes to desserts, chef Tym­chyshyn is as­tute enough to keep things fairly tra­di­tional. As a spoon­ful of smooth vanilla crème brûlée dis­solves on our tongue we find our­selves think­ing ‘If it ain’t broke...’

When the restau­rant opened in 1997, its French cheeses were leg­endary, and we were cu­ri­ous to see whether it had bowed to the fash­ions of to­day and in­tro­duced some Bri­tish va­ri­etals. How­ever, when the trol­ley ar­rives it is heav­ing with French farm­house of­fer­ings. ‘Never fewer than 25,’ its keeper as­sures us, be­fore ask­ing for our favourite flavours and rec­om­mend­ing a se­lec­tion. It’s a won­der­ful bit of theatre that feels both nos­tal­gic and timely; proof if that if you keep do­ing some­thing well for long enough it will in­evitably be­come fash­ion­able again. IL. 020 7616 8000, or­rery-restau­rant.co.uk

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