A recent leafing through of Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, his memoirs of being a young writer in Paris who spends huge chunks of his time hanging out in cafés with other famous writers and artists, put me in exactly the right mood to enjoy Orée, a French patisserie and boulangerie brand beginning its march on the capital.
The location was previously two shops, so the dining area is separated from the counter service, however, one doesn’t feel deprived of space. The cool white and pastel blue walls, adorned with large, faux bruised mirrors, and flanked by an enormous window out onto the Fulham Road makes for an airy space, forcing the marble surface tops to work with it rather than allowing them to add too much weight or formality. Should one wish a more secluded, intimate setting, hidden away toward the back is a table set away from the rest of the room and its voyeuristic window. The only design choice that could be queried are the laminated menus, usually a warning sign, but here perhaps merely an unfortunate oversight that slightly subtracts from the overall atmosphere.
While waiting for my late companion, I sipped at an espresso and chewed at a bread basket, though the bread was actually served in a sack. The coffee on the watery side, but the bread, when sweetened with jam and marmalade, was satiating enough until said late companion (also a young writer, hopefully, a prophetic quirk of fate) arrived.
He went for the Eggs Benedict while I tried the smoked salmon tartine, with a self-spritzed glass of Blanc to wash it all down. The tartine was perfectly balanced, the thinly sliced, crisp cucumber top complementing the flavour of the salmon and the smooth cream cheese, all wonderfully held together by the bread and multiplied by the faint hints of lemon zest. The Eggs Benedict oozed a deep and dark and rich yellow over the plate, and was equally deep and rich to sample, slightly spicier than one might expect, which serves to raise it above anything run of the mill.
Orée lends itself to meals, suitable for breakfast or lunch, more than it does to popping in for a coffee, though if one wishes to sit and write and emulate Hemingway then the wine is more appropriate anyway. The bread, meals, coffee, sparkling water, and a glass of wine would only set one back £30 odd, which makes the experience seem ample despite its lightness. A welcome addition to the Fulham Road, in all.
275-277 Fulham Road, SW10 9NY