Restaurant - French in Reading
Tuesday to Saturday: 12pm - 9pm
Located in the village of Shinfield, lâ€™ortolan is Readingâ€™s only Michelin starred restaurant. Chef Patron Alan Murchison is passionate about his cooking, ensuring that the same quality is as integral to the service as it is to his food. lâ€™ortolan also offers 3 private dining rooms, each with their own unique flavour, and for larger parties the main restaurant is available for exclusive useâ€“and with no room hire charge. With its magical atmosphere lâ€™ortolan is perfect for every dining experience.
We came here for my husband's birthday. We decided to splash out (as they say, if you're going to do it, do it properly) and have the menu gourmand with the wine pairings. Coming in at Â£115 each we had high expectations - similar selections in other Michelin starred restaurants have been delightful. And this was before we had had aperitifs, the extra wine course, the extra cheese course and tea and coffee...It was a bit of a disappointment. Some of the dishes were exquisite (especially the foie gras - buttery smooth and served with a wafer thin gingerbread crisp and the Venison with spiced red cabbage, blackberries and chocolate sauce). Many of the dishes were very good. We had no real complaints about the food. There was a lack of excitement and for one course we had to chase after our wine pairings which seemed to have been forgotten.The wine pairings were interesting and the sommelier was very friendly but we did feel that his pairings had been chosen to show off the selection of wines they had rather than compliment the food. In particular the decision to serve a grappa (82% by vol) with the dessert course was baffling - the sommelier even suggested breathing out as we sipped it, it was that strong. We saw lots of tables ordering traditional dessert wines to go with their desserts. Not sure if this was a money making ploy or a genuine error.The worst complaint I can level at L'Ortolan, however, was its lack of soul. Past experiences at upper strata restaurants, with or without Michelin stars, have been warm, enjoyable and friendly.A much more joyful occasion. This felt cold and soul-less, like the food was more important than the customers.I have paid more for meals in the past but on this occasion I really wished I'd gone somewhere more local and friendly (Mya Lacarte springs to mind). When the bill came we bth baulked a bit because it just didn't seem like it was worth the money. Sad.
A User - 11/03/2009 | report this review
I had eaten a fantastic tasting plate here in 2007 but my latest visit in 08 was really disappointing.The amuse bouches were a rather bizarre mix of slightly curried dips. The chef seems to care more about the plate being coloured with artistic swathes than the food being hot or good (rabbit on lettuce??). The sommelier wanted us to try wines we didn't ask for. The choice is very limited (5 starters and 5 mains).Go to the Hand and Flowers in Marlow instead.
A User - 04/01/2009 | report this review
Took my wife last year and had the Gourmand menu...7 courses we were promised and thats what we received, yes 7 courses of the smallest portions of food you will ever eat. The food was uninspiring too...my wife is an excellent cook and can cook much much better. She is Hong Kong chinese and she is alway appalled at how poor the English are at cooking, especially fish/shellfish.Â£200 for 2 was a joke, even Â£10 each is too much.I think people who go to these michelin star rated restaurants, go there because they presumably think they are elitist. We only went there as it was a present to my wife.Unfortunately more time is spent seemingly on the look, rather than taste (the latter which funnily enough i am more interested in).Service was good though, as was the venue, but then i only live 1 mile from the venue and i wont be going back either.unfortunately i have to provide 1 star as it should be 0
A User - 06/11/2008 | report this review
Wow! Reading has a Michelin Starred restaurant and what a treat it is too! I took my partner here for a birthday treat and had a wonderful evening. The setting for L'ortolan is a gorgeous country mansion in beautiful grounds and definitely needs to be seen during the day. We were greeted and offered a drink at the bar and opted for the new seasons Pink Champagne and given a good rundown on some of their wines.The meal was fantastic with my bream cooked perfectly though the real treat was the chocolate tasting plate. The service was impeccable and we managed to spend 3 hours at the restaurant without every feeling as though we ere being neglected.The bill was not something for the faint-hearted but then I'm not suggesting you eat there all the team. Go there for a treat to enjoy the setting, service, food and pure luxury!
A User - 08/09/2008 | report this review
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