[London] Orrery – A Falling Star & the difference between Sparkling Wine, Prosecco and Champagne

26 05 2011

Everytime my brother has friends fly over to visit him in London, he never fails to bring them to Orrery, an ex-Michelin star French Restaurant. Similarly during my visit, he made a booking for one of their 3-Course Set Dinners via Toptable, priced at 28.50GBP.

We were first treated to a glass of Grand Cru, a type of French Wine. I’m a noob when it comes to wine and don’t know the difference between prosecco, sparkling wine or champagne. Well, I’m sure many that many of us are in similar predicaments so I shall quickly list out the main differences based on my inference of what all-knowing Google says.

Sparkling Wine is the generic term for all kinds of bubbly. Champagne and Prosecco are all subsets of Sparkling Wine. For Champagne, it must be made from mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes that are grown in the region of Champagne, France while similarly for Prosecco, it must be produced in Prosecco, Italy with the grapes grown there. For simplicity’s sake, all other types of bubbly not produced in these regions will just be simply known as Sparkling Wine (I’m pretty sure there’s some other exceptions and subsets of Sparkling Wine apart from Champagne and Prosecco but those types of bubbly aren’t as well known by the layman). So apart from the region in which it is produced, both Prosecco and Champagne are also fermented using different methods, with Prosecco meant to be consumed young and fresh, taking only 4-6 weeks to produce a bottle while a bottle of Champagne typically takes up to a year on average to produce. Given the exclusivity of Champagne in terms of its production duration and area, it is usually popped only during special occasions while Prosecco is for day to day drinking. I guess this more or less sums up the differences between them. I’m sure this tidbit of information will be useful in helping you impress your friends the next time they ever decide to pop open a bottle of bubbly 😀

According to my brother, Orrery always serves a complimentary starter and pre-dessert. The hors d’oeuvres today was Tomato soup topped with Basil foam which I felt lacked synergy and was too tangy for my liking. Regardless, it was free.

Usually I prefer my foie gras unadulterated, pan-seared and lightly seasoned but a few recent encounters with its terrine/pate versions have left me thinking. Easily the best dish of the night, the Foie Gras Parfait here trumps over the one I had at Novus, with the caramelized apples doing well to contrast against the smooth appetizing parfait.

The Orrery Fish Cake with Tatare Sauce was a simple Fried Salmon Ball. It tastes fine but I was expecting something a little more sophisticated and elegant given the restaurant.

The Salmon Gravadlax with Beetroot & Coriander is something I’d normally avoid due to its simplicity in preparation but then again, it’s also something that hardly ever goes terribly wrong.

For my main, I ordered the Braised Shoulder of Lamb a la Bordelaise with Mashed Potatoes. By the mere fact that I can’t recall much of it ever since eating it last week, I dare say its forgettable, literally.

Given that Orrery specializes in French cuisine, I was quite surprised that a traditional French dish; Confit Duck Facon Grand Mere, Jus Gras, turned out rather soggy.

Even the safest of choices, the Cod Fillet with Potato Cresse & Mussel Veloute was underwhelming and rather petite in size.

The Roasted Sea Bass with Barigoule, Coriander & Citrus was probably the only decent main that evening, with some decent crackling of the fish skin.

For our complimentary pre-dessert, we were each given Rhubarb topped with Lemon Sorbet and Crumble.

For Dessert, most of us sticked to the popular Chocolate Fondant with Blood Orange Sorbet. I tried to capture a pic exhibiting the choc lava flow but given that the molten chocolate was far too little and way too dense, such a feat was impossible. We did enjoy the sorbet though it’s probably the fastest melting sorbet I have seen.

The Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream too fell short of expectations. Its saving grace was really the Ice Cream with its evident fragrant black specks of vanilla beans.

Complimentary chocolates to end off the meal.

While service and ambience are worthy of Michelin-class, I’m guessing Orrery was probably dropped from the “star-studded” list due to inconsistency in their food.

Bon Appetit!

Orrery

55-57 Marylebone High Street

City of London, London W1U 5RB, United Kingdom

020 7616 8000

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One response

29 04 2013
Brittney

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