Inside L’Ortolan: The Reading restaurant named one of the best in the UK

A Berkshire restaurant has been named one of the best in the UK.

L’Ortolan was given the prestigious AA Rosette award and praised for its “consummate modern gastronomy” by inspectors.

L’Ortolan is Reading’s only Michelin starred restaurant. It is located in the charming village of Shinfield, a short drive away from Junction 11 of the M4.

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Opening in 1984, L’Ortolan is known for its “traditional flavours mixed with contemporary recipes”.

It is currently led by talented young head chef James Greatorex, who is regarded for his “sophisticated and highly detailed” approach to contemporary cooking.

He said he is “really pleased for my kitchen brigade and restaurant team who have done an amazing job to earn this award.”

Peter Newman, managing director and owner of L’Ortalan, said that he is “overjoyed that the hard work of James‘s last two years is showing some results, and very pleased for him”.


L'Ortalan exterior
L’Ortalan is set inside a stunning building
(Image: SLR PHOTOGRAPHY / L’Ortalan)

L’Ortolan is based inside a gorgeous Grade II-listed building.

As well as private dining, L’Ortolan offers cooking experiences and corporate events.

It is set at a stunning red-brick former vicarage with a magnificent Gothic-style front door and bow-fronted windows.

The country house style restaurant boasts a “luxurious, unique and timeless” setting inside for visitors.

It has been described as a spacious and comfortable place by the Michelin Guide and is believed to have been one of the first restaurants to have a chef’s table.


L'Ortolan food
L’Ortolan is known for its spectacular dishes!
(Image: SLR PHOTOGRAPHY / L’Ortolan)

L’Ortolan has a “constantly evolving” menu that is inspired by cuisine from around the world.

They offer a concise lunchtime menu, or you can choose one of their tasting menus, which contains up to 10 courses.

You also have the option of booking the chef’s table, where you will be sat four feet away from where the magic happens!

Mouthwatering dishes include modern French cuisine such as ratatouille, Mirabelle souffle, and foie gras.

Spectacular fish dishes are also on offer, including a “melting” citrus cured Cornish mackerel paired with cucumber and buttermilk, and a “sparkling fresh” Cornish cod ballotine with clams, sea herbs and watercress.


L'Ortolan restaurant interior
L’Ortolan has two tasting menus and a lunch menu
(Image: L’Ortolan)

The restaurant’s lunch menu is available from Wednesday to Saturday and is well suited to busy professionals during the day.

Options include orkney scallops for £28, guinea fowl for £40 and gigha halibut for £32.

Meanwhile, L’Ortolan’s tasting menus are more pricey.

Their Gourmand option, which is their signature seven-course tasting menu, is available from Wednesday to Saturday for £79.

It includes a salad of lamb, tuna tartare and a cheese course.

Their Elegance menu is described as suitable for vegetarian diners and also costs £79.

Dishes include veloute of artichoke, king oyster mushroom and cep tortellini.

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AA rosettes

Head chef James Greatorex
Head chef James Greatorex has been commended for his ‘sophisticated and highly detailed’ cooking
(Image: HannahMcClune / L’Ortolan)

AA announced its Rosette award winners last week to highlight the best culinary talent in the UK, and has been running for 65 years.

The top award of five Rosettes was introduced by AA in 1991, with L’Ortolan receiving three rosettes.

Other AA Rosette winners this year include Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus restaurant in London, and The Grill at The Dorchester, London.

Simon Numphud, managing director at AA Media, said: “As the hospitality sector reopens after a challenging year, it is an honour to be able to recognise those restaurants achieving the highest levels of gastronomic excellence.

“All 2021 Rosette winners deserve to be celebrated, with each one demonstrating the exceptional culinary standards being offered to diners across the country.”

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