A taste of the world
Holly Christian visits Orbis Stamford to sample its unique gluten-free menu.
Tucked away in the historic town of Stamford, Orbis, with its brilliant blue door, is waiting to be found by foodies of the county. As you step through the entrance you are greeted by a secluded, covered passageway adorned with sparkling fairy lights and leafy foliage accented with stunning azure flowers. Within, a vibrantly lit staircase featuring show-stopping blue and pink neon lighting gives you a taste of the wonderfully unique eatery waiting above.
Orbis Stamford opened its doors to the public in May this year. After the success of his flagship eatery in Oakham, owner Jonathan Spencer set his sights on beautiful Stamford. What initially started as a conversation with a colleague who couldn’t eat gluten products became Orbis’ niche. Jonathan has meticulously designed the innovative Orbis menu so that all the dishes are gluten-free and customers are guided and advised on options for any allergies, including diary-free.
To the rear of the restaurant is the outdoor terrace area with a sheltered seating area and bar, the perfect place to enjoy drinks on an evening with views looking out across Stamford towards the River Welland.
Orbis has an extensive range of inventive cocktails from classics such as Pornstar Martinis and Cosmopolitans to their own signature cocktails. Our waitress Megan, who was extremely helpful throughout, suggested ‘Rum with a View’ which suited the décor perfectly. Taken from the summer drinks menu, this refreshing and fruity cocktail was made with a blend of blue curacao, Tiki rum and pineapple juice and was the perfect accompaniment to our food.
Orbis, as the name implies, takes inspiration from around the world to create its exotic offerings. We ordered off the ‘Taste of the World’ menu which includes a wide range of delicious small plate, tapas-style sharing meals. The ‘From the Land’ options offer an exotic array of choices from Caribbean jerk chicken to red Thai Iberico pork. All meat produce is sourced from award-winning butchers Price & Fretwell whilst fresh fish is delivered daily by Marrfish. For seafood lovers, the ‘From the Sea’ selections include sizzling tequila prawns, tempura softshell crab and mojo scallops. The vegetable plates ‘From the Garden’ had many sumptuous and unusual options from Oyster mushroom larb and pan-fried soy asparagus to Kentucky fried cauliflower.
We chose the Peking duck breast, served with spring onion and the most delicate cucumber ribbons. The breast was wonderfully tender, marinated with a rich soy, hoisin and honey sauce. To accompany this we also chose the sticky sesame chicken wings. The chicken is marinated with sesame oil, golden syrup, soy sauce and Japanese sesame seeds 24 hours before cooking, making it wonderfully moist inside while still retaining the crispy skin. We also enjoyed the Brazilian spare ribs; the tender meat fell from the bone and was served with a chunky, sticky pineapple sauce creating the perfect combination of sweet and savoury flavours.
Despite having eyes bigger than our stomachs, we couldn’t resist sharing a dessert. We could have chosen the recommended Chocolate and honeycomb cheesecake, Key lime pie or the Piña colada on a plate from the sumptuous ‘Sweet Tooth’ menu. After much deliberation we chose the Strawberry shortcake stack with white chocolate and Chantilly cream, which was divine. The shortcake was light and crumbly, the cream thick and fresh. Paired alongside the sweet strawberries and hint of white chocolate, this proved the ultimate indulgent dessert.
I couldn’t resist the urge to sample one of Orbis’ much loved ‘liquid puddings’ – perfect for those who, like me, may have over-indulged at dinner but love to finish a meal with something sweet. The signature ‘Drumstick Lolly’ included a blend of Grey Goose vodka, crème de cassis and strawberry and vanilla syrup. The flavour took me back to my childhood years – garnished with a Drumstick lollipop, my liquid pudding went down very smoothly.