The tradition of Antipodean sensibilities infiltrating British cuisine at the highest levels continues with the opening of Lorne – an aerie debut by Katie Exton, the former sommelier at River Café and Chez Bruce, and Peter Hall who used to cook at The Square and Benu – in London’s tony Pimlico neighbourhood.
Here, Justin Gilbert of Coriander Buildings has converted a former Indian restaurant into a bright, softly cheerful nook of pastel hues with liberal splashes of green potted plants. Apparently, the inspiration for the décor, especially its cool aquatic hues, comes from the restaurant’s namesake, a bucolic seaside town on Louttit Bay in Victoria, Australia that’s bounded by a river and the long expanse of the Great Ocean Road.
The result is charming yet slick, not always an easy combination to pull off: Streaked marble table tops are mixed with wooden tables and blond timber chairs, the stylish homespun mood anchored by shelves of colourful geometric lined pots and planters of succulents and vines.
The menu is mod-Brit and there is plenty to admire here, not least the quail roasted with mountain yam, barley, and butternut squash, and a salt-baked celeriac. If there’s a sweet-tooth in your party, steer them towards the Yorkshire curd tart with builder's tea ice-cream.