ENTERTAINMENT

Orasay does the little things so well with bold and modern cuisine that is never boring or fussy


Orasay 31 Kensington Park Rd, London

Rating:

Stars what? Astro-nomic objects, glowing spheroids made of plasma, things that are not the fault, dear Brutus. They glitter and shine, dazzle and dazzle, the view from the gutter, the path of a hiker home.

And also a measure, less romantic, for the joy of a critic. Or despise. Because this fine organ, like many other newspapers and magazines, uses stars to rate its reviews.

Now, some may disagree with this notion and argue that prose alone should suffice and that empirical rating systems can be too broad a line of praise or dislike for a person, possibly the delicate subtleties and idiosyncrasies of a play, book, or one Book are missing. Movie or lunch.

Orasay is the new location for Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke, who specialize in British seafood, mainly from the Western Isles (including the scallops on the Isle of Mull above). And it's pretty darn good

Orasay is the new location for Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke, who specialize in British seafood, mainly from the Western Isles (including the scallops on the Isle of Mull above). And it's pretty darn good

But they are the breaks, as they say, and somehow life will continue to fluctuate.

Anyway, I'll do it quickly. My job is to find the best food this country has to offer.

And pass this information on to you. I live up to your recommendations, along with those of blackheads and critics. And as a critic I sit in sacred company, a relative newcomer to a very sublime table.

However, there is a lot of quality at every level.

Which always amazes, because the restaurant trade is harder than a five-day cooked hull, miles away from the funny beano of the popular tradition. Long and anti-social hours; constantly increasing rates, labor and food costs; margins getting smaller and smaller.

Even the biggest and best places can struggle to make ends meet – you're sure not opening a restaurant to get rich. This trade is brutal. At best joyful and brilliant and life affirming. But brutal anyway.

Sure, there are mountain banks and charlatans, fools, cheaters and idiots out there. I am not here to gild over mediocrity or take a critical strike. But there is so much to celebrate and support – and so much dirt and hate and bitterness, both online and offline – that I am looking for places that give me pleasure rather than indigestible darkness.

Hence all these four-star ratings. Not perfect, but far better than the average. Places where you get value for your hard-earned wedge. The lesson ends here.

As you'd expect from the talents behind Brunswick House and St. Leonard, they brightened up the room, simplified things, so the narrow room is clean, bright, and modern

As you'd expect from the talents behind Brunswick House and St. Leonard, they brightened up the room, simplified things, so the narrow room is clean, bright, and modern

And so on to Orasay. The new location in Notting Hill from Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke, which specializes in British seafood, mainly from the Western Isles. It's damn good too.

As you would expect from the talents behind Brunswick House and St Leonard. It is on the site of a Mexican place that was once quite good. For a short moment. And they brightened up the room, simplified things so that the narrow room is clean and bright and modern.

Just like cooking.

We start with tiny fried prawns that are eaten entirely like those found in Spanish and Italian seaside locations, and we wish you could eat at home. Now you can. They are sweet and crispy and wonderful.

Then cockles, too often regarded as the lumpy, socially awkward little brother of the more sophisticated conch. Here, served with a pinch of smoke-intensive ham and roasted chili relish, they shine. Plump, pure crustacean attraction.

Three cool, clean-tasting Teign River oysters are anointed with the most delicate champagne and elderflower jellies. The soft floral aromas flatter the salt charm of the shellfish instead of smoothing them out.

Puffy fried bread comes with a fried egg and pristine, dark, chewy anchovies that are lasciviously draped over his face. Tough grilled potato bread is spread with the finest quality smoked cod roe.

The first English asparagus comes with a sous vide egg yolk and fried smoked anchovies, which are very rich and chewy. More egg and bread and smoked fish. But just like the others, a dish of balance, comfort and charm.

At Orasay they do the little things so well. Every detail is important, and while cooking is certainly bold and modern, it is never boring or fussy. Excellent products meet excellent cuisine.

It is food that makes me happy. In a restaurant that is designed for longevity.

Over £ 35 a head

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