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RESTAURANT REVIEW

Going Greek at Orbis in Oakham, Rutland

By Megan Allen – 11th April 2020
RECOMMENDATION | Billy Bob’s Parlour & Diner – The Yorkshire Dales 112
What I loved about Orbis:

Their willingness to go above and beyond for their customers

 

Worth paying a babysitter?

Yes, definitely. Whether you’re just out for a few drinks or want to make an evening of it, Orbis is worth it.

 

Expect:

Something that you can’t get anywhere else in Rutland – exciting and interchangeable world cuisine paired with delicious cocktails

 

Value for money: (out of 10)

A solid 8 – the menu is pricier but reflects the quality of the food and drinks

A vegan and a carnivore walk into a bar… no, this isn’t a joke with a corny punchline but exactly how I approached the opportunity to review Orbis in Oakham, Rutland, this week.

The restaurant and bar opened in Church Street in January this year to rave reviews of its small plate menu inspired by world cuisine and delicious cocktails – something which Oakham has a tragic lack of.

And I’m going to be honest, this wasn’t my first Orbis experience. I originally visited back in the spring with a friend in search of gold dust – a decent margarita. Seeing that there wasn’t one listed on the menu, my heart plummeted but the team quickly rose to the challenge and whipped me one up there and then.

I was glad to see that this same flair had not stayed in lockdown and when they got in touch to offer me an opportunity to review, I set them another one. During August, Girl About has been very much Greek themed and we were asked to review a Greek restaurant in our patch. Sadly, there isn’t one in Rutland but with Orbis doing themed menus inspired by different countries, I thought I’d try my luck and asked if they could go Greek, just for me. The result was a delicious minted lamb doner with lemon tzatziki.

The team’s adaptability is almost definitely one of the reasons why it survived lockdown. They were the first restaurant in Oakham to start offering a delivery service and even added cocktails to the takeaway menu. Interestingly, they were also one of the last to reopen after the restrictions were lifted and have continued to run limited home deliveries.

Safety first

So, let’s start by talking about the awkward subject of safety. In a post-lockdown world, it can make or break a business and we were directed immediately to the hand sanitizer when we walked in and then seated at our table. However, whereas in some places you can’t forget that there’s a world pandemic going on, in Orbis it was easy to forget for an hour or so.

My friend Fay and I were seated at a table which was staggered between two others, so that we weren’t close to anyone else. There are also tables outside for those who do not feel comfortable eating or drinking in an enclosed space.

The view

From there we had a great view of the bar and open kitchen where we could see the chefs busily preparing food to the soundtrack of early 00s club classics which brought back many a memory and of the beautiful aqua-marine decor, including a “blue coo” which was hilariously placed so that from my vantage-point, Fay looked like she had horns. It’s the little things.

Land, sea & garden

The menu is split into sections – from the land, from the sea and from the garden. As I hinted before, I’m more of a “from the land” girl and Fay is very much “from the garden”. While there are a few items on the menu clearly marked as vegan, we were also told that some other items could be prepared using vegan alternatives.

Along with my Greek special, I opted for the Brazilian spare ribs with a sticky pineapple glaze based on the recommendation of our server, Hollie. Fay opted for polpetta vegan – chickpea and spinach balls and curried cauliflower fritters with a mint dip and we shared some beer battered onion rings and skin-on fries.

Also on the menu is tempura soft-shell crab, maple syrup belly pork and signature sharers, such as a denver of Japanese wagyu beef and cheese fondue.

Now, I have made a bit of a joke before that if you want to know if a place is good – take a vegan because the menus are usually so limited but Fay was absolutely delighted with the options available to her.

To accompany our mains we ordered a couple of mocktails – a Rutland countryside for me which was rosemary, lemon, apple and cranberry and a Captain Ginger Beard for Fay – ginger beer, lime juice and rhubarb syrup – which she said reminded her of her husband.

As I mentioned, I have had cocktails there before which were delicious and the mocktails were no different. I suppose a bit like being vegan, I often find that there are such limitations on non-alcoholic drinks in some places, so this was a real treat on a school night.

I can’t speak for Fay but I was not disappointed in my choices (and I know she wasn’t either). Ribs are one of my favourite meals and Hollie was right – they were tender, sticky, sweet and I could have eaten them forever, I think. The doner was also tender slices of lamb – not overdone – and the marinade was subtle so I could still taste the meat.

Fay likes to think of herself as a bit of an onion rings connoisseur – one of the downsides of limited vegan menus – and they passed the test. They were massive and the batter was perfectly crispy.

Something sweet

With service being so efficient, we’d only been there about an hour when our mains were cleared, so we decided to stretch our evening out a bit longer with a perusal of the desserts while we sipped on some dessert cocktails – a pineapple cream for me and an espresso no-tini for Fay. After changing our minds several times (as while they are small plates, they’re really not that small and we were stuffed) I opted for the lemon posset with summer fruits and Fay had rum and pineapple fritters which were normally served with a coconut ice cream but they swapped it out for mango sorbet which, I’m reliably informed, had proper chunks of mango in it.

The posset was refreshing and tart and the fritters were very rummy.

In total, our bill came to about £75 but we’d been gifted a £50 voucher towards it and enjoyed spending every penny.

I’ll definitely be back but the ultimate test – would Fay? Yes, absolutely and with the family in tow.

For more information visit www.orbisoakham.co.uk

Enjoy!

Megan x

REVIEW:

This is a Girl About review. I was invited by the management to dine at their restaurant free of charge in exchange for an honest and frank review. All my opinions are my own and in no way have they been swayed by their kind invite. Girl About reviews are always 100% honest. We only publish reviews that, for the most part, are positive.

Megan Allen Rutland
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