Kerth Gumbs has shown no concessions to the hazards of delivery, with restaurant-standard dishes complete with theatrical flourishes for home diners. James Stagg reports
Having played a starring role in this year's Great British Menu and making it to the banquet, Kerth Gumbs might have expected the booking lines to be red hot in spring. But since the finale of the show was aired during lockdown, Gumbs has been left ruing what might have been.
However, the Ormer Mayfair head chef has kept busy and provided new-found fans with a way to experience his food through the launch of Ormer at Home, a delivery and pick-up service from the restaurant, which is housed within Flemings Mayfair hotel in London.
The menu reads much as it would in the restaurant itself, with starters, mains, sides and desserts alongside a choice of wine and cocktails, with some slight adjustments to suit transportation. Service is from Wednesday to Saturday, while a roast chicken with all the trimmings is available on Sunday.
All the starters are cold, so there are no concerns about losing warmth during delivery, and arrive plated as though the guest was receiving them in the restaurant. Jersey crab (£26) comes with thin curls of shaved apple and cubes of daikon, and a separate pot of peanut dressing. Gumbs says that he likes to bring a bit of restaurant theatre into the home. "At Ormer most dishes come with something on the side, like a condiment or sauce. I wanted people to be able to add something at the table, so it's that extra bit of fun brought to your home as we would do it in the restaurant," he adds.
The same approach is taken with the beef tartare (£26), which was introduced to the restaurant menu just prior to lockdown. Back then it was served with a tomato consommé on the side and a smoked mayonnaise, but for delivery it comes with egg yolk crumble to sprinkle on top and the addition of a crispy daikon noodle. "Tartares are rich and indulgent and because I removed the bread I needed something else so it wasn't too one-dimensional," Gumbs says. "So the daikon noodles provide some texture."
From the mains, Gumbs says that the spice-crusted Cornish sea bass (£26) can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. The fish, which is dry-cured in fennel seeds, saffron, orange and lemon zest before being poached in an orange dressing, is served with artichoke, fennel and spinach oil in a separate pot, again to serve at home. "You can eat the seabass hot, warm or cold," Gumbs says. "You can eat it at room temperature and it's not a problem as long as you have the seasoned vinaigrette going through it."
More casual bites can be found on the Manetta's Bar Favourites section of the menu, including stewed ox cheek, butter beans and dumplings curry (£28). A dish that arrives warm and all the better for a short rest en route.
"The sauce is quite similar to a British stew, but cooked in a Caribbean way," Gumbs explains. "Instead of marinating it in just red wine, it is more aromatic with ginger, garlic, thyme and spices. When we start frying we include dried coconut along with a little of the red wine marinade and you still get the same richness, but with a few background notes." It is served with basmati rice and harissa-dressed tenderstem broccoli.
The desserts are as daring as the courses that come before, with intricate execution and some confidence in the courier. One showstopper is the Ormer Mayfair apple crumble (£15), which arrives as a chocolate shell containing the apple and custard, sitting on top of the crumble. A mixed spice sauce comes separately to heat at home and pour over the sphere, melting the chocolate and revealing its contents.
"I have reworked one element inside, as in the restaurant we would have a lighter custard espuma," says Gumb. "We also sprayed the coating of cocoa butter and chocolate a little thicker, but otherwise it's the same dish."
It's all part of Gumbs' determination to provide the theatre, fun and extravagance of the Ormer experience in guests' own homes.
"What's important is to adapt my style to create takeaway fine dining," he adds. "Of course, we want the flavours to come through, but the idea is also to recreate a high standard of presentation."
What's important is to adapt my style to create takeaway fine dining
Flemings Mayfair hotel, 7-12 Half Moon Street, London W1J 7BH
- Heritage tomato, feta, green olives, mixed seeds £18
- Yellowtail ceviche, avocado, tomato, Vietnamese dressing £24
- Black cod, pickled squash, orange, pak choi, sake dressing £26
- Caramelised pork belly, caramelised onion, cabbage, soy, peanut £30
- Dover sole, smoked salmon mousse, caperberry, leek, roe, cream new potatoes, harissa-dressed tenderstem broccoli, flaked almonds £40 (for two to share)
Manetta's Bar Favourites
- Sweet chilli-glazed chicken wings £16
- Chicken, butternut, coconut curry, basmati rice, harissa-dressed tenderstem broccoli £28
- Black forest gateau trifle, cherry, vanilla, chocolate £11
- Ormer's original treacle tart, strawberry compote, clotted cream £12
Featured photo: Jodi Hinds. Other food photos: Steve Joyce
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