Reading’s L’Ortolan to close after 38 years

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Reading’s L’Ortolan to close after 38 years

Related tags L’Ortolan

Reading restaurant L’Ortolan will close its doors for the last time at the end of next month after 38 years.

In a mailer sent out to the Shinfield restaurant’s database earlier this week, the current management - which has overseen the site for 23 years - said that the restaurant was closing ‘with a heavy heart’. 

Named after a now illegal French dish that involves blinding a songbird before drowning it in brandy, L’Ortolan has been overseen by some of the UK’s most influential chefs including Nico Ladenis, John Burton Race and Daniel Galmiche. 

The building dates back to 1840 and was converted in to the Milton Sandford restaurant in 1978, winning its first Michelin star in 1982.

In the mid 1980s, Ladenis briefly rebranded the restaurant as Chez Nico but in 1986 the site was taken on by Burton-Race who rebranded it as L’Ortolan and went on to attract two Michelin stars. 

In the early 2000s, the restaurant was purchased by IT entrepreneur Peter Newman who installed Alan Murchison as head chef. 

He went on to win a Michelin star and was involved in the restaurant until 2014.  

Following Murchison’s departure, the kitchen has been helmed by Tom Clarke, James Greatorex and most recently Jamie Pearce, who was only installed there last month. 

In a statement provided to Restaurant Newman blamed Brexit, lockdown and the cost of living crisis for L’Ortolan's closure.

"Staff salaries have increased, food prices have gone up, fuel costs have risen and our customers have less discretionary spend now and are not so inclined to go out for a fine dining experience as they used to," the statement reads.

"I bought this place in 2000, refurbished the building, recruited team to run it and opened it it 2001, and for many years it won a Michelin star every year and developed a loyal and regular customer base so for me it is a very sad occasion." 

Related topics Fine Dining

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