Not so long ago, I took my eldest nephew up to the Harry Potter Studios in Leavesden. Leavesden - where’s that? Exactly. To get there, it’s a mission. You need to take the tube to Euston, and then hang around in one of the worst stations in London before taking another train to Hertfordshire. From there, it’s another bus until you actually get to the studio. Was it worth it, and would I do it again? Of course I would. It’s bloody Harry Potter. There are just some things that are worth it, regardless of what’s involved. And as far as restaurants go, Lorne is a great example of that.
Lorne is a modern British restaurant on a quiet street in Victoria, away from the construction that always seems to engulf the main station. And despite being in the most soulless part of town, it’s a restaurant that’s worth braving the area to visit. You wouldn’t know it just by walking past, but between them, the people who opened Lorne have worked at some big ticket restaurants like The River Cafe and Benu in San Francisco. However, we like that it feels like a relaxed local spot - just one that happens to serve food that would impress us just as much in central London.
Any food described as ‘modern British’ these days could mean anything from posh pub food to a plate of pasta. At Lorne, you’ll find a smoked eel dish with new potatoes and lemon with flavours that are so simple yet work together so well, and a bowl of pea mousse and baked salmon that had us raving to strangers like an otter on MDMA. Whatever label you want to stick on it, everything you eat will be incredibly tasty, light, and you’ll leave feeling sated and happy. The restaurant’s a very warm and inviting place to sit too, and you’ll think of any excuse to visit to eat the food and drink a shedload of wine.
Lorne isn’t a restaurant for a rowdy dinner, and that’s fine by us. And while a meal involves a trip through the London equivalent of Azkaban, we wouldn’t hesitate to pull on our grown-up pants and sit on the District line for it.
The menu at Lorne changes often, but here's an idea of the kind of dishes that you can expect to find.
Is ‘pea mousse’ just a posh name for mushy peas? In any case, we didn’t think we could love peas this much until we ate this dish. There are nicely seasoned pieces of fish and pea shoots layered above a pea purée, and you’ll ask for more bread just to mop it all up. There’s a ton of flavour here.
This is basically a simple fish and two veg dish, if God cooked it him/herself. The smoked eel is crusted with a layer of tiny dried prawns, and the flavour will transport you to a beach in the Med. The cucumbers and potatoes add a bit of heft and are totally satisfying when you eat them all together.
Lorne doesn’t mess around with super heavy seasonings, and most of the food takes a lighter approach instead. The lamb is no exception, and will probably ruin lamb chops for you for life.
The desserts and pastries at Lorne are as proper as anything you’ll find outside of France. The chocolate dessert (usually a cremieux or pave) is sweet and feels indulgent without leaving you feeling too heavy which, if you’re us, is useful if you’re planning on ordering two portions.