Last week, I had the pleasure of popping along to Ormer Mayfair, Shaun Rankin’s London outpost of the highly acclaimed, Michelin-starred Ormer in Jersey. I have heard several fantastic words and rave reviews about both restaurants and have long wanted to try it out for myself. When I was asked to accompany one of my colleagues to preview Ormer’s English Wine Week tasting menu with wine pairings, needless to say I was both thrilled and thankful for the lovely opportunity.
Shaun and Ormer Mayfair’s Head sommelier Andreas Rosendal have created a stunning five-course tasting menu bursting with fresh, seasonal dishes inspired by the Jersey shores paired with some of the best wines England has to offer.
My colleague and I were joined by a few other journalists, including my good friend Emily, to sample the special English Wine Week menu ahead of its launch on the 27th May. As someone who has a keen interest in wine and really enjoys learning more about it (and tasting it) I was really excited to dive right in. We were sat in one of the private and intimate nooks of the restaurant, with Andreas leading us through the wine pairings course-by-course.
Kicking things off, we toasted with a 2009 Nyetimber Blanc des Blanc, a wine that has gained international acclaim, having won a coveted gold metal and the ‘Best in Class’ award at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships in 2015. And it is indeed a phenomenal wine – rich in flavour with a buttery brioche notes and subtle hints of fresh citrus that paired exceptionally well with our starter of fresh Jersey crab, pear, lime, vanilla and peanut dressing.
An overall stunning pairing, the crab was remarkably fresh and the vanilla added a sweetness to the dish that was well-balanced with the pear and lime. The peanut dressing rounded off the dish and added a slight crunchy texture. I love crab and this was such a memorable and well thought-out dish.
The next pairing was the 2014 Gusborne Estate Pinot Noir served with the undeniably delicious roast rabbit with pancetta, topped with aromatic truffle gnocchi, morels and peas. We had a debate at dinner about whether or not food writers/bloggers should be expert cooks in order to credibly write about food – half the table was split decision-wise.
Well, I am by no means an expert cook and can confidently say this dish was out of this world fantastic. The rabbit was tender and light and the truffle gnocchi was rich, creamy and complemented the rabbit wonderfully. The combination of the two sent my tastebuds into overdrive when paired with the Pinot Noir.
English Red Wine is not held in high regard as sparkling is, but this Pinot Noir was delightful – light and fruity with notes of strawberries, raspberries and a hint of pepper, I distinctly remember saying “I’d love to have this wine at my wedding,” as it’s super easy to drink and would taste great on a hot summer’s day.
Our next wine was one of my favourites of the evening and is very special – The 1992 Nyetimber Blanc des Blanc. The predecessor to the 2009 Blanc des Blanc, this vintage is one of the few bottles left and has aged impeccably well. The flavour has become a bit sweeter with age and it’s not as bubbly as it’s 2009 counterpart, but that in no way affected the taste. This is one of the oldest wines I’ve ever drank and I made sure to take my time and savour it – a truly spectacular vintage.
The 1992 vintage Blanc des Blanc was paired with the Turbot with pine nut crust, cauliflower, cockles and sea vegetables. Similar to the crab stater, this dish highlights Jersey and British fare, which is at the heart of Shaun’s cooking. Fresh and delicate, the Turbot was savoury and the sea vegetables added an earthiness to the dish. The sweetness of the wine rounded out the dish, leaving us all satiated and happy.
Blown away by Shaun’s phenomenal cooking and Andre’s pairings, I sat in awe of the entire dinner – the food, the drinks, the setting and the company were just lovely and I felt incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to try Shaun’s food. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was awarded another Michelin-star by the end of the year for his work at Ormer Mayfair.
The evening, however, wasn’t over, as no British meal would be complete without another few glasses of wine and a cheeseboard, a tradition that I’ve happily adopted since living over here and one I look forward to every time we have dinner with my in-laws.
We tucked into a cheese selection paired with the award-winning 2007 Ridgeview Wine Bloomsbury sparkling. Light, crisp subtly fruity, this sparkling English wine would make for a fantastic celebration wine.
As if I thought it couldn’t get any better, we were presented with this gorgeous Apple crumble with white chocolate, caramel and vanilla ice cream. This is one of the best desserts I have ever had and brought back memories of being at the pumpkin patch when I was little, eating apples covered in caramel. I love when food is evocative and brings back great memories. I can undoubtedly say that this is a special dessert I won’t soon forget. The white chocolate lined the inside of the hollow apple as hot caramel was drizzled on top.
The texture of the apple crumble and the coolness of the vanilla ice cream amalgamated together to form the perfect dessert that had me saying time after time “isn’t this just gorgeous” and “wow, this is the best dessert I have ever had!” Of which my colleague reminded me about the next day at work! But it truly was something special and if you go to Ormer, you have to get it.
The dessert was paired with a 2014 Ortega “Noble Harvest” by Denbies Estate, a lovely dessert wine with notes of honey that of course tasted superb and was the ideal way to end our sensational evening.
This is the best dinner I have had in 2017. I can’t wait to visit Ormer Mayfair again – it is my new favourite restaurant for special occasions and I am so appreciative that I finally had the chance to try Shaun’s stunning food.
If you are a oenophile, or just like great wine and food, I highly recommend Ormer Mayfair’s limited-edition English Wine Week tasting menu. Priced at £150 per person, the exceptional menu will be available from Saturday, 27th May to Saturday 10th June. Don’t miss out on this outstanding dining experience.
Ormer Mayfair, Flemings, Mayfair, 7-12 Half Moon St, London W1J 7BH
*I was a guest on behalf of Ormer Mayfair.