Why Ormer Mayfair Went ‘Tasting Menu Only’

Ormer Mayfair by Sofian has quietly taken London’s culinary scene by storm since its grand rebranding.

Originally launched as a collaboration between Shaun Rankin (chef-founder of Ormer, formerly one of Jersey’s only Michelin-starred restaurants) and Flemings Mayfair (a small but luxurious hotel in central London), the restaurant saw many iterations since it opened its doors in 2016.

Following the the departure of head chef Kerth Gumbs in April 2021, new executive chef Sofian Msetfi not only rebranded the restaurant, but turned it into a ‘tasting menu only’ concept. An objectively risky concept for a hotel restaurant.

While tasting menus are, subjectively, my favorite way to get to know a chef and restaurant, implementing them in a hotel setting comes with risk. Particularly, in meeting the diverse expectations and preferences of hotel guests.

Of course, expansive à la carte menus also come with risks in the current climate.

In Msetfi’s case, the decision to focus solely on tasting menus reflects his dedication to providing guests with an unparalleled dining experience—one that showcases his creativity and passion for the finest British organic and seasonal produce.

“Tasting menus really suit the style of food we make at Ormer Mayfair,” he says. “They allow us to cook how we want and create an extremely special culinary experience for our guests.”

Still, tasting menus aren’t quite as ‘one size fits all’ as they were a decade ago, so the restaurant has worked hard to create three options to suit most dietary requirements: a meat, pescatarian and vegan tasting menu, respectively.

Currently, the eight-course meat tasting menu features torched native lobster (with horseradish and pink grapefruit), warm Ibérico ham jelly (with parmesan, Bramley apple, and nasturtium, roast Anjou pigeon (with mushroom and lime) and much, much more for £115 ($146) per person.

The signature wine pairing costs an additional £115 per person, though the Prestige wine pairing is definitely the one to go for, at an additional £185 ($236). Why? Because a glass of Autochtone Julien Courtois Romorantin 2017 served with cured Cornish mackerel, sesame, kombu and spiced nage might just be one of the most perfect pairings I’ve ever had.

At just 30 years old, Msetfi’s relentless pursuit of culinary excellence has garnered well-deserved recognition, too. In October, the restaurant achieved a rare honor, becoming one of just three London restaurants to receive four AA Rosettes.

“Winning four AA rosettes was a fantastic achievement and testament to the team’s hard work,” he says. “As such, the restaurant definitely got busier, which was brilliant to see.”

Speaking to the challenges that face the restaurant and wider industry in the UK’s current cost-of-living crisis, Msetfi expressed his gratitude for the dedicated team and shared vision that has propelled Ormer Mayfair by Sofian forward.

“Like much of the restaurant industry, we’ve definitely faced a few challenges over the last few years,” he admits, “but having a great team around me, along with great support from the owners and managing director.

“We’re really focused on continuing to build what we’ve created over the last two years. Happy guests and a full restaurant is what we aim to achieve and we look forward to the accolades that will follow if we keep that up.”

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