ORTON’S BRASSERIE: MODERN, SEASONAL BRITISH FOOD
It’s finally here, Orton’s Brasserie has officially launched on Orton Square with their great British fare menu and stunning venue.
You may remember an earlier review I published about the Joe’s by Orton’s brunch that was launched as a take-out service back in June, so catch up on all the background there on the brand and their story below.
The restaurant plays homage to Joe Orton, the controversial playwright, who I’m sure most Leicester folk are familiar with and his work in defacing book covers where he was referred to as ‘A Gorilla in the Roses’. This features in Orton’s Brasserie’s branding as well as many references to Leicester in the interiors too.
With the history of Joe Orton and the square, Orton’s Brasserie has picked a perfect location in the heart and centre of the Cultural Quarter, housing the World class performing arts venue, The Curve Theatre.
The food is simple modern British, fresh, seasonal, locally sourced and aims to deliver on creativity and flavour.
The menus have been created by Executive chef, Andrew Greasley (Competitor on Masterchef The Professionals 2016) and Sous chef Dawid Popielec, who have worked on creating the delicious flavours and pairings on the menu and aim to provide a quality experience at Orton’s Brasserie for diners.
The Venue & Decor
Orton’s Brasserie is made up of four different spaces including, as well as the bar area, and an outdoor garden, which dons a lovely street art mural of the gorilla completed by a local artist. The area is decked out and is a little sun trap in the summer months and sits beside aged trees overlooking Orton Square. There is also the seating area in front of the restaurant on the square itself.
The Outdoor Garden
Gorgeous outdoor seating space with artwork and atmospheric lighting.
The Bar Area
Grab a pew beside the bar and watch the bar staff knock up your fancy cocktails to perfection.
The Main Room
Overlooking Orton Square with floor to ceiling windows, this room is the main indoor dining area with beautiful blue and golden crushed velvet covered buttoned seating and there is what I call the Chesterfield corner, which is dominated by a large grand sofa to sit and chat around.
The tables are well spaced apart and the room benefits from acoustic panelling. Also the panelled wall art can be replaced with your choice of adornment should you wish to hire it out for an event.
I love the suspended pendent spiral lights, which all line up as a representative of the DNA double helix, paying respect to a fellow university of Leicester colleague who discovered genetic finger printing, Sir Alec Jeffreys.
The Rose Room
This room is a little smaller and is perfect for hiring out for smaller soirees or meetings. The tasteful light pink hued walls and a LCD screen make the room perfect for an uplifting meeting or gathering environment.
The Private Dining Room
Perfect for a private dining affair or business meeting this room has more of an executive ballroom style layout but more chilled of course!
The Basement Room
The basement is a private, classy and intimate space available to hire or for other functions. The low lighting gives it more of a laid-back evening feeling and comes with its own entrance.
Oh and if you fancy a little romantic date setting, ask to sit in one of the very few booths to experience a little privacy and a lower tone of ambience.
Big Joe’s Cocktails & Cellar
Big Joe’s cocktail menu is a pretty impressive and a fancy affair, serving over 33 different cocktails and with some of my favourites on the list from the classic Espresso Martini, Negronis to Whiskey Sours, Caipirinhas, Hemmingway’s classic, and the Corpse Reviver, one that will most definitely be a regular for me.
Regular readers know my passion for the perfect Espresso Martini, and Orton’s does a mighty fine job. Not too sweet, good quality Espresso and simply a classic to savour.
Now lets chat about the Corpse Reviver, a sexy number that doesn’t just deliver on looks! Gin, Lillet blanc, triple sec, lemon and sugar in glass rinsed with abisinthe! Oh and beautifully garnished, because the lady has class!
Another refreshing choice is the Hemingway on the rocks, which contains white rum, maraschino, lime and grapefruit Pellegrino. They also do a pretty good Pisco Sour (you know my love for Peru!)
Dr C was very impressed by the Camden IPA and the depth of flavour so a thumbs up from the beer boss!
Big Joe’s Wine cellar is a must with meals and you can select from a selection of Red, White and Rose wines as well as bubbles!
Oh and if you like your spirits, don’t forget to ask for the selection of aperitifs and digestives on offer, which will kindly be recommended to you by the staff.
The Fine Seasonal Local Fare
Orton’s Brasserie serves a great selection of British Tapas, which are just the right portions to devoir alone or share as part of a small selection with drinks.
We opted for the Parmesan & Truffle Arancini (lovely and light but with the punch from the luxurious truffle), Bravas Royale (a take on the classic Patatas Bravas, these come served on a bed of silky smooth Cashew pesto), and finally the Ham Hock, Rillettes & Apple (Dr C enjoyed this small plate of slow cooked ham hock and apple gel with pistachio Tuille).
To start I picked the light and fresh pea soup, which is a perfect summer dish with truffle, drizzled in croutons and pea shoots. A delicate taste and a great way to start the meal.
Dr C dived into the Chicken Liver Parfait, which he reported was one of the best liver pate’s he’d tasted. The chicken liver is infused with orange and served with house made red onion jam on a slice of toasted brioche!
We started our mains with a glass of Argentinian Malbec, and agreed the rich notes of blackcurrants complimented our dishes beautifully.
I had my eye on the Plasagne and it did not disappoint. It’s a reimagined vegan lasagne of lentil and mushroom ragu with butternut squash and a creamy bechamel made from cashews. It was seriously tasty and I’d thoroughly recommend this to meat eaters, the flavours were perfect.
The Pork Belly and Beets was on Dr C’s radar and he could not fault the dish. He said the meat fell apart beautifully and was complemented by the beetroot. It comprises of a 12 hour slow cooked pork belly, carrot and anise puree, crispy pork crackling served with salt baked beets and a cider jus.
As you all know we always have room for dessert because there’s a separate compartment for that, right? For the gent it was the Chocolate fondant, complete with gooey chocolate middle and a sprinkling of burnt caramelised popcorn! The chocolate was rich, dark and luxurious.
For the lady, a buttery house-made sweet paste crumb with a tangy lemon curd served with a Cornell of raspberry sorbet. I’d describe this as a deconstructed tarte au citron, which packed a good lemony punch of refreshingness. The dish was aptly named, Oops I dropped my tart’ and the cherry on the cake was the honeycomb bits!
Orton’s Brasserie aim to be a little like their namesake, the famous Joe, who was artistic, creative unpretentious, and I would have to agree! No heirs and graces about Orton’s brasserie. Faultless creative cuisine and drinks, artistic interiors and an unpretentious atmosphere with attentive service and knowledgeable staff. That may explain why I’ve already visited three times! The Brasseries also caters for meat-eaters, veggies and vegans with lovely options on offer! It’s one to head to folks of Leicester, come and support Leicester, make Joe proud!
Disclosure: Our 3-course meal and cocktails (Launch Night) were complimentary in exchange for this review. All opinions and views are honest, with photography which is my own unless otherwise stated. This article and its content therefore remain a copyright of be-lavie and should not be reproduced in anyway without prior permission.
1 Orton Square
Leicester. LE1 1RD
Tel 0116 248 9100
Head over to Orton’s Brasserie Website for more information and menus