Orasay is a primarily seafood restaurant in Notting Hill that opened in March 2019. Its chef/owner is Jackson Boxer, who also runs Brunswick House in Vauxhall, which he started at the tender age of 24 after a spell working for Margot Henderson, co-founder of St John. Mr Boxer was born into a food family, with his mother a well-known cookbook writer and his father being the owner of a delicatessen (Italo). Orasay, named after a Hebridean island, is in a busy street and has closely packed tables and a bar to the left as you enter. The lighting was distinctly low, hence the rather gloomy pictures.
Orasay offered an a la carte menu, with starters priced between £12 and £16 and main courses from £19 - £34, with desserts £9-£10. The wine list had 87 labels, split over two separate lists, and ranged in price from £30 to £299, with a median price of £85 and an average markup to retail price of 3.4 times, which is pushing things even for Notting Hill. There seemed to be an emphasis on natural wines, with assorted orange wines and skin contact wines on the list. Sample references were Domaine Quilla Muscadet Sur Lie- Loire 2020 at £38 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £7, Albamar Albarino Rias Baixas 2021 at £60 compared to its retail price of £26, and Domaine du Clair ‘Les Aubuzes’ Maranges 2020 at £95 for a wine that will set you back £34 in the high street. For those with the means there was Yalumba ’The Octavius Shiraz 2001 at £189 compared to its retail price of £64, and Château Pontet-Canet 2000 at £259 for a wine whose current market value is £142. Alternatively, corkage was a very reasonable £30.
We started with some rosemary focaccia, which had light and fluffy texture and a nice amount of aromatic rosemary (14/20). My starter was a fried haddock bun, a kind of fish burger, served with tartare sauce. This was very pleasant, perhaps with a higher ratio of batter to fish than might have been ideal, but the batter was crisp, the bun was fine and the tartare sauce was piquant. The burger analogy was extended with a square of cheese in the bun that I didn’t think really added anything, but this was certainly a nice enough dish (13/20).
Tagliolini of Brixham crab came with pickled lemon and chilli. The pasta had good texture and the crab was fresh, though there were a couple of small pieces of shell. My main issue was that the lemon, a flavour that I am generally very fond of, was overly strong to the point of dominating the dish, and for me the chilli was too subdued (12/20).
My main course of Tamworth pork chop with brown shrimp and smoked bacon sauce came with some salad leaves. This was enjoyable, the pork nicely cooked, the sauce nicely enhancing the meat and the leaves providing some balance (13/20). A whole black bream was wood-grilled and unfortunately was rather over-cooked to our taste; the staff were very nice about this and removed it without incident. On the side fries were crisp and lightly seasoned, and a green salad with elderflower champagne dressing was fine.
We had a very good waitress, though the pace of dishes was a little leisurely. The bill came to £61 per person. The restaurant was very busy even on a midweek evening in January, and so Orasay clearly has an offering that appeals to its (mostly young on this visit) audience.