Fiona Beckett gives her verdict on Lorne...
76 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1DE
Tel: +44 (0)20 3327 0210
- Rating: 7/10
- Open Monday-Saturday for dinner and Tuesday-Saturday for lunch
- Restaurant style: Seasonal modern British & European
- Starters from £9, mains from £19 and desserts from £7
- Lunch set menu from £15
- Wine to try: Blaufränkisch 2014
What is it about restaurants and railway stations? Think of almost any major London terminus – Euston, Paddington, Waterloo – and it’s a gastronomic desert. As was Victoria, until now, when it suddenly seems set to be as hip as Hackney.
Wilton Road admittedly is still on the edge of the action, barring the excellent A Wong (serving some of the best dim sum in town). But now, incongruously situated in a row of dodgy diners, we have Lorne, which has been set up by former River Café sommelier Katie Exton and chef Peter Hall, who worked together at Chez Bruce and The Square.
It has very much the air of a neighbourhood restaurant – in fact, with its blonde wood trellising and copious pot plants, a restaurant out in the ’burbs. But with a cleverly curated selection of bottles from both Old and New World, it’s very much a ‘destination wine list’ as they put it.
It seemed prudent to start with what I wanted to drink. Pursuing my usual philosophy of ordering wines I don’t know, I picked a glass of Autòcton’s Blanco 2015 – a deliciously floral Catalunyan field blend of Malvasia, Xarel-lo, Macabeu and Vermell for a very reasonable £7 – which sailed through both a clean-flavoured warm salad of chiogga beets and castelfranco (radicchio), and a well-seasoned rabbit terrine.
A main of guinea fowl (with exemplary black pudding) seemed tailor-made for a delightfully peppery Blaufränkisch 2014 from Moric in Burgenland, Austria at £8.50 a glass. ‘I thought you might order that,’ said Exton knowingly.
Her time at the River Café has resulted in an unusually good selection of Italian reds at prices slightly less painful than at her alma mater, and there’s obviously a fondness for Burgundy – and for Mac Forbes from the Yarra Valley, as she has five of his Pinot Noirs.
I passed on the opportunity to explore the dessert wine list in favour of a pot of Shire Highland black tea from Malawi, from the Rare Tea Co, with my homely pud of Yorkshire curd tart and builders’ tea ice cream – a match I’d strongly recommend.
Lorne is one of a growing band of engagingly casual London restaurants including Noble Rot, Six Portland Road and The Winemakers Club, who put wine at the heart of their operations.
My only reservation would be, flattering though the food is to the wine, whether it merits a detour on its own account. But if you’re catching a train from Victoria, no question.