We are really proud to introduce our guests and wine lovers to a brand new device for wine pouring, ‘Coravin’ , that we believe is about to revolutionise fine wine service.


Basically, the Coravin allows us to access very fine wines of rare vintages and complexity by performing the neat trick of extracting wine from a bottle without actually opening it.  So, there is no effect on the quality of wine in the bottle or its aging process.

Thanks to this device we are now pouring a selection of ‘Fine Wines’ giving you the opportunity to discover some of the finest vineyards around with a glass of wine or a flight pairing with the Gourmand Tasting Menu.

Fine Wine Selection


How does it work?

A long, thin needle is inserted through the foil and cork into the bottle.


Then, Argon (an odourless, tasteless, harmless, inert gas) is pumped through the needle, creating pressure within the bottle that pushes wine back out through the needle.

Coravin 2


When the desired amount is poured the needle is withdrawn creating pressure within the bottle that pushes wine back out through the needle.  The cork, thanks to its very elastic nature, seals itself up when the needle is removed.

It will not work on a bottle sealed with a screw cap or an artificial cork, however it is perfect for old and valuable wines that are rarely found poured by the glass.

This is a very exciting revolution for wine lovers which we are very honoured to be promoting at L’Ortolan.

The ‘Fine Wine’ Selection:

White Wine

Loire Valley

Sancerre « Les Caillottes », Francois Cotat, 2011


Chablis Grand Cru ‘Vaudésir’, Gerard Tremblay, 2010

Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Les Folatières’, Chavy Jouet, 2012

Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, Remi Rollin, 2003

Red Wine


Les Ormes de Pez ‘Cru Bourgeois’, St. Estèphe, 1996

Château Haut Bailly ’Grand Cru Classé’, Pessac Léognan, 1999


Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Domaine Arnaud, 2008


Sassicaia, Bolgheri, Tenuta San Guido, 1999

 Dessert Wines


Ice Wine, Inniskillin ‘Gold’, Vidal (37.5cl), 2012


Tokaji Aszú, 6 Puttonyos, Dobogo (50cl), 2007

I am looking forward to telling you more about Coravin at L’Ortolan, over a glass of Chateau Haut Bailly 1999, probably one of my favourite Grand Cru of Pessac-Leognan, that I am delighted to pour by the glass.

Guillaume Kaczmar

Head Sommelier


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We are very excited to introduce Charles Heidsieck as our new house Champagne.  Chosen for its individuality, exclusivity and downright deliciousness we look forward to sharing this wonderful Champagne with our guests here at L’Ortolan.

Charles Heidsieck Logo

Charles Heidsieck was founded in 1851 by the legendary Champagne Charlie himself. Charles was a dashing figure in Champagne, known as stylish gentleman and dandy who travelled extensively selling his Champagnes to the royal courts of Europe and American high society. He famously invested in the underground cathedral-like chalk cellars under Reims, originally dug out by the Romans 2000 years ago. The cellars are a unique place to age the Champagnes (only five Champagne houses today own original Roman cellars) as they remain an ideal 10ºC throughout the year and have a perfect levels of humidity, silence and stillness. They are still used today to house all the Charles Heidsieck Champagnes as they age.



Today the Charles Heidsieck Champagnes are recognised by industry experts as some of the very best to come from Champagne and win countless awards and accolades. The winemaker Thierry Roset places great importance on the reserve wines used in the production of the non-vintage blends. The Brut Réserve contains 40% reserve wines with an astonishing average age of 10 years, and is aged a minimum of 36 months in the Roman cellars. It is a Champagne with wonderful richness, complexity and balance.

sea of bottles


In 2013 the Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve was named the number one non-vintage champagne in the world, by FINE Champagne magazine. The wine was awarded the International Wine Challenge Trophy for non-vintage champagne, the Best in Show Award from the Sommelier Wine Awards (as well as Gold and Critic’s Choice), and was the only non-vintage champagne to be awarded a Master Medal in The Drinks Business Masters.


Enjoy a chilled glass of Charles Heidsieck Brut N.V. with our celebration Champagne Lunch offer…

Champagne Lunch

Three course lunch with Chef’s appetiser and pre-dessert and a glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne.
£39 per person

Tuesday – Saturday lunchtimes from 1st May

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Head Sommelier Guillaume Kaczmar has only recently joined us but already has a solid idea of how the wines and wine service will be going forward.  Following on from his predecessors and the interest L’Ortolan has always had in unconventional but authentic wines, Guillaume intends to carry on in the same tradition.

‘ We try very hard to source most of our wines and produce from honest people who work hard, respecting the environment they are living and working in, giving the best of themselves to get a lot more in return.

It is with great pleasure and excitement that we will be promoting the Real Wine Fair’ event, an independent festival taking place in London every year in April, showcasing wines from all around the planet, gathered around the same spirit of minimal intervention and respect for nature.


Throughout the month of April you will find at L’Ortolan, in addition to the numbers of organic, biodynamic and natural wines, two organic wines poured by the glass, pairing our Chef’s set menu, from my region of origin, the South West of France.

Both organic, one dry white from the very south on the edge of the Pyrenean mountains, Jurancon, Clos Lapeyre, produced with the intriguing indigenous varietal ‘Gros Manseng’.

And the other one full bodied red, Luc de Conti, Château Tour des Gendres La Gloire de mon Père, from the Dordogne region with a traditional blend of Malbec, Cabernet and Merlot.

I am looking forward to meeting you here at L’Ortolan to tell you more about the wines…’

Guillaume Kaczmar, Head Sommelier


The Real Wine Lunch is available throughout April
£37 per person, includes a 3 course lunch with Chef’s appetiser and pre-dessert and a glass of organic wine.
See the menu and book online here.


Our talented pastry chef Charlotte Duncan recently spent a day learning new chocolate skills from Will Torrent at Barry Callebaut.

Going on my first chocolate course at the Barry Callebaut headquarters was something  I would recommend to any chef.  It was great fun learning with Will Torrent, an ambassador for Barry Callebaut, 1 of 150 ambassadors worldwide. We made mini desserts and decorations which was great for learning new flavour combinations and chocolate decorating skills.  Learning more about the chocolate that I use everyday, and the developments which the company is making to ensure the best quality chocolate, makes it seem that bit more special when I use it!





Alan Murchison is also an ambassador for Barry Callebaut and his and Charlotte’s latest creation  is a spectacular ‘Chocolate Tasting Plate’ for two which is available on our current A la Carte menu.  As far as we know we are the only restaurant in the UK serving the Cacao Barry Boa Sentença chocolate – its stunning!


Boa Sentença fondant, caramel and puffed rice slice

iced white chocolate parfait,

white chocolate and caramel dome,

Madirofolo sorbet

choc tasting plate

P1020127-kmFormer L’Ortolan chef, Ben de Souza, recently arranged for Executive Chef Alan Murchison to demonstrate the preparation and cooking of fresh produce for year 9 & 10 Food Technology students at his former secondary school, Piggott School, Wargrave.

A classroom full of eager students, watched in awe as Alan inspired his young audience with his culinary skills over two lesson periods. The first session detailed how to de-scale, fillet and pan fry a selection of round and flat fish including mackerel, sea bream, tuna and brill. The second demonstration included the savoury delights of an afternoon tea.

Year 9 student Olivia Munns commented ‘It was great to see a professional in action. He showed us a range of ingredients and ideas for presenting food.’

Year 10 student Natasha Ostrowski who attended the afternoon tea demo said ‘He made simple ingredients look really good. It was interesting to hear about the industry and work experience.’

The classmates were very impressed with Alan’s creations. They also showed genuine interest in the hospitality profession and the sourcing of the fresh produce used at L’Ortolan to create our delicious dishes.

We hope Alan has sparked some talent and enthusiasm in some budding future chefs!

Toque d'Or Eighteen talented students joined us on Sunday and took over the running of L’Ortolan as the last challenge of the Toque d’Or Grand Final.

The students were in teams of three from Westminster Kingsway College,
Glasgow City College, The City of Liverpool College, Gloucestershire College, Royal Forest of Dean Campus, Ayrshire – Ayr Campus and Bradford College.

The event went really well.  The students delivered a great product and coped well with the pressure of a busy service.  It was a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic group of young chefs. – Alan Murchison, Executive Chef

In Toque d’Or tradition the students only found out that they would be spending the day with us on the journey to L’Ortolan from Nestlé’s business centre, Rashleighs, near Maidenhead. With half of the students under the expert guidance of Alan Murchison in the kitchen and the other half with Ania Jezusek in Front of House the students produced a very impressive dinner that was thoroughly enjoyed by the 40 guests who attended.


 It was an intensive day and a very successful evening overall.  The students didn’t have an easy job and this was the first time that anyone in the grand final of the Toque d’Or had taken over a Michelin starred restaurant.  Everyone should be proud for achieving such a high standard and creating the theatre of a fine dining restaurant.-  Ania Jezusek, Operations Director


 Champagne & canapés

Mushroom velouté

Spinach and soft egg ravioli, Jerusalem artichoke purée,
globe artichoke slices, a
rtichoke crisps with truffle

Pouilly Fumé, 2012

Sous-vide duck breast, sweet charred pineapple, boulangére potato, braised pak choi

La Croix Bonis, 2009

Walnut whip

Chocolate coated Caramac bon bon, deconstructed chocolate Rolo,
Smartie ice cream, Toffee Crisp layer


Coffee & petit fours

We won’t find out who the winning team is until the awards dinner at The Dorchester Hotel on Wednesday 2nd April.  Until then here are a few snaps that we took on the day and a few words from one of our guests on the evening ….

toque d'or pics

I was very impressed by the whole evening.  Given that it had been put together by the students themselves, with no prior notice, I thought that their efforts were outstanding and would pay good money to eat their food again!  Under Alan’s watchful eye, the selection of food that our team presented to us was not only artistic, but absolutely delicious too – and yes, I did facebook out a picture of my dessert (still totally in awe that an entire range of chocolate bars can be recreated from scratch with the textures and flavours not differing from the originals.  Pure genius! Hellen Shaw, Pink Tomato

For more information on the competition please visit


L’Ortolan Pastry Chef Charlotte Duncan’s latest creation is a delicious caramel mousse, salted caramel & toasted hazelnut with praline ice cream for our A la Carte menu.

After we posted a photo of the dessert on our Facebook page and Twitter feed one or two followers requested the recipe for the honeycomb.

So here it is for you to try, Charlotte’s recipe for honeycomb, but be careful as it can be quite lively.


352g Caster Sugar
50g Honey
60g Water
125g Glucose
15g Bicarbonate of Soda


1. Place sugar, honey, water and glucose in a pan and bring to 155ᵒC

2. Add sieved bicarbonate of soda taking the pan off the heat and mix with a whisk – take care with the hot mixture when whisking!

3. Pour into a lined container with grease proof paper and leave to cool

Disclaimer: Please note that this recipe requires unlimited supervision at all times. We do not accept responsibility for any injuries incurred while making your honeycomb.

Charlotte’s dessert is now available for lunch or dinner on our A la Carte Menu.

Please call us on 0118 988 8500 to make your reservation or click here to book online.

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