have visited L’Orient twice now. The first time for a birthday dinner in February and again more recently for Sunday brunch. I enjoyed it immensely both times and will certainly be going back-hopefully soon.L’Orient is truly a unique place. Finding an Oriental restaurant in a 16th century timbered building is unusual in itself. The interior of the building has not changed much from its original struture, but this has been incorporated into the restaurant’s design very well. From the main hallway area, which now houses the bar, there are several sets of rickety steps leading to L’Orient’s beautiful themed rooms. There is a large Japanese room at the front of the building and towards the back, two smaller more intimate dining rooms decorated in Thai and Chinese styles.
Like the building, L’Orient’s menu is also divided into sections:- Cantonese Xchange, Shanghai Vice, Forbidden City, Bangkok Nights, Malaysian Mist, Toyko Joe and, for the vegetarians, Green Cuisine. Each section contains a selection of about four starters, five mains, two rice or noodle dishes and two sides. You don’t have to stick to one section for your meal - you get free choice so the range of options is huge!
The staff are very accomodating. On my first visit,the manager made an effort to fit us in as it was a special occasion, even though they were booked up. The service is polite and efficient.
The food is excellent and, on the whole, reasonably priced. I particularly recommend the “Sushi Deluxe” starter, which was delicious and a came in a huge portion. My own starter, “South Sea Cups,” made of small pancake cups filled with mixed seafood, was good but nothing special, however the “Mongolian Lamb” main and “Lotus Roots” side dish more than made up for it. I think our one mistake was to order the “Chilean Black Cod with champagne sauce.” This was cooked beautifully but, as with most luxury foods, did not justify its price (£30 for one small piece of cod).
If you happen to be going for Sunday Brunch the dim sum selection is fantastic, particularly the three types of thai meatballs. A word of warning though -when they say the complete dim sum is suitable for 2, they mean 2 elephants. It includes 16 seperate dishes and could feed four easily, which, I’m guessing, is why it costs £35.
I would give you a better idea of price, but we ordered silly expensive things on both our visits. I think 2 mains, a noodle/rice dish and a vegetable side (i.e a main course for 2) would come to about £30 if you don’t order the black cod or lobster.