From the reactions I’ve seen online, having a baby during the Covid-19 pandemic is considered a pretty crazy thing to do, but it’s not like we can help it. Starting a new business is probably equally as barmy at this time, but the people behind Orton’s Brasserie are powering on regardless. And who can blame them? We’re all adapting and growing to suit the new normal, observing social distancing and the rules of the national lockdown. So hat’s off to entrepreneurs who will look for the opportunities in today’s difficult climate!
Before they are able to open their Cultural Quarter restaurant to the public, the team are experimenting with a brunch delivery service, called ‘Joe’s’ – the whole shebang being named for Leicester legend Joe Orton of course, and sitting overlooking Orton Square opposite the Curve theatre. I am particularly excited to note on their menu that a ‘beer garden’ is mentioned, which that venue has not had before to my knowledge. Looking forward to seeing what they’ve done with the place.
But in the meantime, we got the chance to have a sneak peek at their menu. The brunch service will begin this Saturday and is available via Just Eat, or you can call and collect in person. You can opt for The Big Joe, an all-day brunch with British ingredients (available in vegetarian and vegan varieties as well as meaty), brunchwiches – breakfast sandwiches in bagels, muffins or brioche, and some lighter options including ‘Gone Fishing’ – a hot smoked salmon dish on quinoa and tahini, a detox box of yogurt and topped granola with avocado, nuts, fruit and a hardboiled egg.
The Head Chef at Orton’s is Justin Akpa. You may remember him from Plukd, making Plukin’ good wings at special events and latterly his own premises for several years in the city. Knowing Justin is no stranger to flavour really piqued my interest in finding out more about Orton’s. And these big, bold flavours are evident in the brunch menu.
A nice time for a treat
We received our delivery at 12.30 today. I’ll be honest, as a breastfeeding new mum, that’s a late lunch for me, not brunch (but I need to eat semi continuously it seems). I’ll be ordering much earlier in the day for brunch proper. But there couldn’t have been a better day for us to get a lovely food delivery. Willow is just over a month old and we are pretty tired! Bringing new parents food so they do not have to cook is essentially the best thing you can do for them I think.
In combination with that today would have been Pixie’s first birthday, so it is a bit of a tough one for everyone in the usually Happy House. A little treat is just what we needed. I think getting nice food delivered is probably the best treat we can all enjoy during lockdown. It doesn’t break the bank and does really help to lift the mood.
The Big Joe
The Boy and I both opted for The Big Joe. Because we need the calories. This consisted of steaky bacon, two sausage patties, a field mushroom, cherry tomatoes, beans, a fried egg, and the Big Joe bubble & squeak cake. It all came in a flat metal container which I don’t think was ideal for transit as it was far too big for the amount of food, and of course the metal conducted the heat away from the food, so everything except for the bubble & squeak cake (the most robust item) was pretty much stone cold.
The beans were served separately in a container so they had held the heat a bit better. It also prevented everything from being covered in errant bean juice – a must for a sophisticated lockdown brunch experience, I’m sure you’ll agree. I thought it was quite brave to put everything in with the egg too, with the beautifully runny yolk there was a definite risk of in transit explosion!! You can see the quality of the produce in that wonderfully orange yolk.
Eating out, at home
Unfortunately, being dwarfed in the metal tray didn’t make the meal look particularly appetising when it arrived, but a moment of thoughtful plating soon took care of that. It is a good plate of food, and a nice variety of high quality ingredients. My favourite part was by far the bubble and squeak ‘cake’, which was beautifully seasoned and hugely tasty. I would happily just have a couple of those for brunch to be honest! I was pleased that this was the nicest part as this at least was the ‘made’ element – the rest being plain ingredients cooked or heated.
My least favourite element was the sausage patties, which was a little bit of a shame as there were two of them so they were the major part of the dish!! They were pretty dry and hard and didn’t have a huge amount of flavour. I have no doubt though that all of these little issues will be tweaked as the new team settle in. After all, brunch delivery hasn’t even started yet – it will be available from Saturday 6th June.
Along with tasty food items, the menu offers a range of drink selections. There are soft drinks and a mixed wine selection. It says £32 for 6 bottles so I can only assume at that price it is 187ml bottles, but it isn’t clear from the menu. Also the only information on the wine is the name of the grapes so they really could be anything. Warrants further investigation!
We enjoyed the cocktail selection – you can choose from a Bloody Mary box and a Mimosa box – the two classic brunch cocktail options. I was particularly glad to see them described as boxes and not ‘kits’. It’s a bit of a pet hate of mine that people are sticking the most basic of ingredients in a box and calling it a kit. A mimosa (or Buck’s Fizz as you may know it better in the UK) is simply dry sparkling wine with orange juice. Absolute classic but not rocket science to put together, however having the dehydrated orange in the box for garnish is a nice touch and gives it a little extra feel of fancy.
Making your mind up
The Boy and I decided to treat ourselves to one Mimosa each with our brunch – which means we still have another three each in the box to enjoy another day. The Prosecco isn’t anything to write home about flavourwise, and with a screw top on the single serve bottles it doesn’t have the carbonation of a regular bottle, so don’t put too much orange juice in! However that said, this refreshing glass of fizz did make a superb and very naughty lunchtime treat that I really enjoyed. At £20 for the box, it’s not bad value either.
Overall, I was really pleased with what we received. There are a few rough edges which I have no doubt the team will polish as they move on from their soft launch (sending us food) and get more practice with more new customers. I think it’s a great way to raise the profile of this new business, and my interest is definitely heightened – I am very much looking forward to seeing what they have done with the building and to find out what the main menu has to offer.
Check Orton’s Brasserie out on social media – e.g. Facebook – as their website is not up and running yet. Yes, they are that new that their website is still a template…. More news when I have it!
We were sent this brunch delivery free of charge for the purposes of review. This blog post is an honest reflection of my opinion of what was sent to us.