Until recently, Victoria has been a barren corner of London when it comes to restaurants, with battling through a swarm of tourists to a Pret sandwich your best chance of getting a decent meal. But times are changing. Now there’s the glossy new Nova building where you’ll find the likes of Jason Atherton’s latest outpost Hai Cenato, Franco Manca and soon rock ‘n’ roll ramen joint Bone Daddies, but venture the other way to Wilton Road and you’ll find a local gem.
Lorne serves seasonal, modern British food in a relaxed, pared-back setting with natural woods, plenty of greenery and marble-topped tables that gave us serious interiors envy. Tuck into freshly-baked sourdough with rich, peppery olive oil made on one of the sommelier’s family farm in Sicily while you contemplate the menu.
Impossibly silky celeriac velouté served with delicately smoked haddock, jersey royals and tobiko (slightly smoky, crunchy flying fish roe) is a good place to start, as is the equally accomplished confit quail leg served with mountain yam, barley and butternut squash that delivered the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
For main, flakey cod served with charred hispi cabbage, warming espelette pepper and mussels was simple enough to let the ingredients shine but interesting enough to ensure we cleaned the plate. Enticing roscoff onion tart served with corn-fed chicken, cauliflower and new-season ‘wet’ garlic however, was underwhelming, with acidic onions fighting against rich but slightly soggy pastry. Disappointment was forgotten, though, with the arrival of rum-soaked retro classic rhum baba with sharp blood orange for a welcomed citrus zing.
There’s nothing ground-breaking happening at Lorne, but with solid cooking, great flavours and an impressive, adventurous wine list, this is the kind of neighbourhood restaurant that’s worth escaping the crowds for.
76 Wilton Rd