There’s an understated yet beguiling appeal about Flemings – a boutique hotel tucked away on a side street of Mayfair, just a stone’s throw from picturesque Green Park.
It’s the very epitome of a hidden gem, its discreetly elegant entrance giving away nothing of the surreptitious attractions within, from the old-world splendour of Manetta’s bar to the sheer exquisiteness embodied by the locally-foraged and seasonal fare at Ormer – the sister restaurant to Michelin-starred chef Shaun Rankin’s eponymous establishment in Jersey…
My recent evening here started at Manetta’s, a sumptuous lair at the far end of the restaurant, reminiscent of a 1930’s hideout.
Truth be told, I half expected to spot spies swapping secrets or clandestine exchanges taking place in the cosy corners, illuminated by the glow of softly-lit lamps!
It’s a luxuriously cosy spot, complete with plush velvet sofas apt for sinking back against in the coming winter months, whilst nursing a warming cocktail from a menu drawing inspiration from writers such as Agatha Christie and Gertrude Stein.
On this occasion though, we vivaciously set upon our evening with a glass of sparkling wine paired to go with our canapés – delicately bite-sized pieces of polenta festooned with parmesan cheese and truffle.
It was then onwards to a discreet alcove – tucked away from the handsome dining space – for a superlative three-course feast, featuring the best of local British and Jersey fare executed with Shaun’s inimitable flair.
We started with deliciously crusty sourdough bread and a creamy pat of homemade Jersey butter laced with sea vegetables! It was perfect for taking the edge off, before the exuberant arrival of our first course…
A heritage beetroot salad for me – a beautifully textured assembly of red, golden and candied beetroots, kalamata sorbet and truffle honey. The razor-sharp sorbet was a perfect foil to the soft sweetness of the beets, while the hint of truffles added a touch of earthiness to it all!
Meanwhile the others blissfully tucked into one of Shaun’s most famous dishes – Jersey lobster ravioli, served in a decadent pool of crab and tomato bisque with a delicate shallot salad as the finishing flourish. I’m told the subtle addition of coriander here was everything.
A thoughtful pairing of wines with each course (curated by celebrated sommelier Andreas Rosendal) also added much to our overall merriment. We’d commenced with a well-rounded peachy white wine, gradually moving to a more full-bodied red vintage by the time we approached dessert… a sweet-and-sour triumph of a cherry soufflé, paired with sorbet and a black forest gateau!
Ormer Mayfair, 7-12 Half Moon St, Mayfair, London W1J 7BH, UK
I was a guest of Ormer Mayfair, but as always all opinions are mine and mine alone.