This will come as a surprise to absolutely no one but dining alone in a fairly well to do establishment like Ormer Mayfair will elicit some cursory side glances from almost everyone in the dining room. All the neighbouring tables thought they were subtle with their pitiful looks or curious nods in my direction, but I saw them, oh yes I did. As they duly noted, I was dining alone so what else did I have to do but to glance right back? Their mistake was not in getting caught, their mistake was in thinking I was sad, lonely, or stood up; quite the contrary actually. A weekend flying solo is a rare luxury, so it deserved to be kicked off with a luxurious dinner with just me, myself, and I.
When faced with the prospect of a dinner for one, people like my dining neighbours might have settled for a takeaway or a quick bite somewhere they could slip in and out of unnoticed, but nope, not me. I wanted my three courses and the bread basket all to myself. No need to fight a certain someone for the last slice of warm crusty bread, or more accurately, the last smear of the butter. With the help of the sommelier, I opted for a crisp English sparkling wine to start and raised a glass to myself; dinner for one definitely isn’t dreary when you’re dining like this!
There was no deliberation required for my first course, I couldn’t come to Ormer Mayfair and not have their signature lobster ravioli; recently made even more famous by its debut on Masterchef. It’s actually a single raviolo, one giant bundle of joy filled with juicy lobster and scallop. It looked like a precious jewel sitting in the silky smooth crab and tomato bisque. The sprinkling of the mellow shallot salad and coriander might have seemed like a simple garnish, but it provided a welcomed breath of fresh air against the decadence of the rest of the elements. Each was executed beautifully, making this dish undeniably worthy of its ‘signature’ title.
Not only do I have no issues eating alone, I also have no qualms about drinking alone and swiftly replaced my empty glass with a New Zealand Syrah to accompany my veal main. The veal loin with artichokes, confit potato and foie gras tortellini was another fine example of impeccable pairing but was let down by the two sad little tortellini. I was so distracted by the dry, doughy state of the pasta itself that I could barely detect any foie gras flavour; an achievement really, as foie gras is not exactly shy on the taste buds.
I had absolutely no complaints about the veal slices, which in that very cliched but oh so accurate fashion, literally melted in my mouth. I did however, feel a teeny bit guilty for enjoying it so much after overhearing the neighbouring table discuss the ethics of eating that and the foie gras. Both have arguably questionable rearing processes, and a more righteous person would abstain, but I’ve never claimed to be one of those, or a hypocrite for that matter. Turns out my neighbours share my approach as moments after I had polished off mine, one portion of the veal arrived at their table and was met with quite the wide-eyed look of approval.
Feeling particularly daring that evening, and without having the sometimes far more sensible certain someone questioning my choice, I decided to order the coffee soufflé with amaretto ice cream and chocolate crumb. Not exactly bold if you’re a coffee drinker, but I am not. I just really wanted a soufflé. Laugh away, but I found the first mouthful quite bracing, it hit me in that ‘sit up straight and pay attention’ kind of way, but when tempered with the ice cream and chocolate, it was heavenly. The rise and texture of the soufflé was just as I had hoped; feather-light, not at all eggy. It might have kept me up way later than my normal bedtime that night, but it did mean I could squeeze in a spot of online shopping and a sappy chick flick when I got home, so it was worth losing some sleep over!
As I nibbled on my petit fours at the end of dinner, I was feeling quite smug and content. If you have to eat dinner all on your lonesome in the middle of a very busy restaurant on a Friday night, then you should definitely do it in style. Ormer Mayfair was just the right combination of elegance and decadence, ticking all my boxes for a relaxing dinner for one. I won’t be ditching a certain someone as a regular dining companion any time soon, but sometimes a girl just needs a little time to herself… with fine food and wine, naturally.
Have you ever dined at Ormer Mayfair?
Do you go out for a dinner for one?
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