On Thursdays a crew of Secret Foodies celebrated Bastille Day early at The Ortolan on Bayswater. In honour of the national day of France, we enjoyed a feast of epic proportions, a hearty peasant-style family meal in the bistro area of the two-hatted restaurant. Chef Paul McGrath excels within the disciplines of French cuisine and was inspired by the rustic flavours of the south-western French Provence.
First up was a platter featuring a selection of the house-made charcuterie, enjoyed with a selection of baguette, toasted brioche and crisp seaweed bread. Citrus and cognac cured ocean trout with horseradish chantilly was also there for the sharing, along with a brandade of house-salted ling with soft quail’s egg.
Main courses was presented in a red crockpot, the lid was lifted to reveal a navarin of 14-hour braised Milly-Hill lamb shoulder, breast,tripe and sweetbreads. Chunks of incredibly tender lamb were doused in a rich gravy, and matched perfectly with a . The second offering was acassoulet of white beans, confit duck, Toulouse sausage, bacon lardons and baked beans.
Dessert was a decadent treat of alternate serves warm dark chocolate biscuit chaud with yoghurt sorbet, and white chocolate and hazelnut bombe Alaska. Both went down much too easily with the smooth and sweet dessert wine, a French riesling.