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AA Notable Wine List 2016-17
AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

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Consummate modern gastronomy in a former vicarage

AA Inspector

At a glance

Vegetarian menu
Tasting menu
Private dining
Wines by the glass
Wheelchair access
Service charge

Occupying a red-brick 17th-century vicarage in immaculately kept mature gardens, L’Ortolan feels a world away from Reading and the M4. It’s an elegant, high-toned operation that has been a fixture in the top flight of British gastronomic destinations since the 1980s, and Tom Clarke has brought new energy and focus to the output here, offering creative, dynamic contemporary cooking with its feet firmly grounded in classical French cuisine. Harmoniously contrasting flavours are built up in flavour-packed openers such as goose liver terrine with blood orange and honey, or crab enlivened with ponzu and seaweed. Pedigree local meats are hunted down for impressive, highly detailed mains like poached breast and confit leg of guinea fowl with asparagus and wild garlic, or there may be immaculately timed fish – pan-fried stone bass, for example, with seared squid, curry and cauliflower. The innovative edge continues to desserts – rhubarb, say, given a thorough outing as a pneumatic mousse and multifarious textures alongside rosemary ice cream. The lunch menu du jour is a keenly-priced entry point, trading upwards to the à la carte or menu gourmand; if you’re happy to go with the flow, there’s a Surprise menu – whichever you opt for, clever little appetisers and pre-desserts are part of the deal.

Opening hours

  • Closed: 2 weeks Christmas to New Year
  • Days closed: Sunday to Monday
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 2
  • Dinner served from: 7
  • Dinner served until: 9


  • Chef: Tom Clarke

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Modern French
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wines under £30: 1
  • Wines over £30: 210
  • Wines by the glass: 17

Price guide

  • 2-course lunch from28
  • 3-course lunch from32
  • 2-course dinner from58
  • 3-course dinner from65
  • Tasting menu from75
  • Service charge
  • Credit cards accepted


  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome


  • Seats: 58
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 22
  • On-site parking available

Additional information

  • Seats: 58
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 22

Getting here

From M4 junction 11 take A33 towards Basingstoke. At 1st lights turn left, after garage turn left, 1 mile turn right at Six Bells pub. Restaurant 1st left (follow tourist signs)

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Three-course lunch from£32**Based on the minimum price for a 3-course lunch *Based on the minimum price for a 3-course lunch
*Based on the minimum price for a 3-course lunch
*Based on the minimum price for a 3-course lunch
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