Test Driving Orasay - Jackson Boxer does seafood in Notting Hill

Orasay insideLooking into Orasay from the front (we were sat on the left by the window at the front of the restaurant) 

What can you tell us about Orasay?

It's the next restaurant from Jackson Boxer, who's the same person behind St Leonards in Shoreditch and Brunswick House in Vauxhall. It's the second collaboration in the Boxer/Andrew Clarke partnership - but where St Leonards had Clarke taking the lead, this restaurant sees Boxer developing a seafood restaurant with influences from the Outer Hebrides. How do those two mix? We'll get to that in a bit.

Where is it?

It's a big change from Shoreditch as the duo head west into the well-to-do area of Notting Hill. It's a few minutes walk from Westbourne Park tube station on Kensington Park Road. It's just across the road from the (very lovely looking) Biscuiteers shop.

prawnsThese are what you'll want to grab while you're thinking about what else to order (as well as the excellent bread and whey butter). These are fried shrimp with celery salt and avocado dip (£7). There's no peeling here - you eat the prawns whole, crunchy shell and all. We were a little put off by that - but once we tried them, totally got over ourselves and devoured the lot. A must-order.  

And where can we go for a drink before (or after)?

We popped into the Elgin for a quick pint (which is pitched right down the middle for the area if you're after something not too fancy/not too lairy). But if you head onto the nearby Portobello Road, there are many more options, including the bar counter at the Electric Diner or a gin and tonic at The Distillery and its upstairs Gintonica bar (which is the home of Portobello Gin). 

Where should we sit?

We were pretty happy with our table right at the very front of the restaurant - so if you don't mind being by the window, choose that. But if you're after a little more privacy, then head right down to the back of the restaurant. There is a also private dining room downstairs that fits up to 12 (it opens early April).

So tell us more about that menu.

As mentioned, it's a Hebridean-influenced seafood affair. So while there are vegetarian and meat dishes as part of the menu - a big focus is on seafood, right from the outset, specifically seafood that you can catch off the coast of the Hebrides.

The menu's split into snacks, shellfish, starters, mains and desserts - we think you should have 2-3 from the first few sections before heading onto the mains. You should definitely start with the prawns pictured above. Here's what else we had on the night:

oystersThe Teign River oysters (£9 for three). Expect the oysters to change seasonally (these are from Devon and they'll have Hebridean oysters - but they're very weather dependent), and we fell in love with the accompanying shallots and elderflower Champagne garnish.  

scallopThe XL Isle of Mull scallop with shiitake mushrooms and vin Jaune (£9) - sliced up for easy sharing.

seabassSea bass, white crab and wild garlic (£22) with unbilled broad beans (the joy!). A plate heralding spring's arrival.

pork230-day Tamworth loin chop with roast fennel (£23) - a beautifully cooked piece of pork (enhanced by the accompanying jus). Pair this with some of their excellent fries (£5). We really fancied the 60-day shorthorn rib chop - but that's for two at £60 (we've been hearing very good things about it). 

And is there anything else? 

There is something that we missed out on - but has been highly praised online. It's the fried bread with egg and anchovy. 

View this post on Instagram

Dinner with Andrew @alboreto at @jackson_boxer’s new restaurant #Orasay tonight, delicious, standout were the fried bread with spring anchovies, the beef and tuna tartare, the Tamworth pork chop with beans and turnip tops, and the roast brill with cockles and aioli. Shallot, truffle and aged Comte tart was fab, as was the ace wine by the carafe. Finished with a coffee and chocolate tart. Jackson’s grandfather got me started as a photographer at @tatlermagazine decades ago, primarily because he (#MarkBoxer) liked the plus-fours, @viviennewestwood pirate shirt and pony-skin @manoloblahnikhq’s I was wearing, so tonight I felt in the lineage of safe creative hands. And yes that makes me a hundred years old 👴🏻. Andrew is the best companion for dinner, lots of stories, perfect choice in wine 🍷.

A post shared by Dan Lepard (@danlepard) on

And how about vegetarians? 

Despite being primarily seafood - there are some excellent vegetarian dishes on the menu. The Comte and truffle tart looks amazing (see the same Instagram snippet above for that) - and here's what we had:

cheeseA huge portion of buffalo curd, grilled Tropea onion and hazelnut (£11) - the extra touch of n'duja gave this dish real bite (although obviously they'd leave that off for the veg option).  

And dessert?

There are only three on the menu - and it's worth keeping some room for them. The chocolate, malt and coffee dessert is certainly very Instagrammable - and here's what we had:

puddingThe pudding you'll be fighting over - the rhubarb and cardamom rice pudding (£7). Utter comfort food, that snap was really gilding the lily.

millefeuille2The pear, honey and whisky millefeuille (£8) - one to go for if you're after a lighter dessert and the smoky whisky really cuts through too. 

What about drinks?

It's primarily all about the wine here - with a list that starts at £29 and has plenty in the under £40 range (heading up to £125 at the higher end). We opted for the Lyrankis Cretan Assyrtiko (£33) which has become a bit of a go-to wine for us on London menus of late.

Overall thoughts?

Jackson Boxer is onto another winner here in Notting Hill, elevating the neighbourhood dining scene with an innovative seafood restaurant. Expect the menu to change with the seasons but, at any time of year, you'll have to kick things off with those very moreish prawns.  

Hot Dinners ate as guests of Orasay. Prices are correct at the time of writing. 


More about Orasay

Where is it? 31 Kensington Park Rd, London W11 2EU

How to book: Via their website or call 020 7043 1400.

Find out more about Orasay


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