Lorne Restaurant 22

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Ex-River Café sommelier Katie Exton has taken full advantage of Victoria’s blossoming food scene with this 48-cover modern Brit, in collaboration with chef Peter Hall (formerly The Square). Light-filled Lorne is a calming oasis of washed-out colours, with house plants lining the walls and a menu dedicated to seasonal, local produce. Dishes change daily but on our visit, we were impressed by an unashamedly rich starter of cuttlefish seasoned with fennel and pickled onions, coated in a creamy romesco sauce. Mains saw a generous serving of tender, corn-fed chicken, supported by a side of onion tart and a hunk of roasted cauliflower. Finally, a chocolate crémeux dessert avoided excessive heaviness thanks to refreshing drizzles of passion fruit and crisps mouthfuls of honeycomb. Thanks to Exton’s expertise, the wine is just as important as the food and the globe-trotting list is surprisingly accessible – there’s also a downstairs bar and wine cellar that’s worth taking a look at. With its fun, chatty staff and a truly relaxed atmosphere, this is a very welcome addition to the neighbourhood.     

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