How Orbis in Oakham came from nowhere to reach No. 1 – despite lockdown

Orbis in Oakham is a restaurant that takes its name from the Latin orbis terrarum, which means ‘circle of lands’. It lives up to its title by serving international cuisine in the form of small plates, sharing dishes and cocktails.

Orbis opened on January 25, 2020. Within two months it was plunged into lockdown. But owner Jonathan Spencer – who previously ran two pubs in Lincolnshire – and his team responded magnificently.

Launching an eye-catching, slick delivery & takeaway service overnight – christened ‘Orbisoo’ – they brought their food to doorsteps throughout the height of the crisis. In so doing – and thanks to head chef Sam McDonald and the team – they built a loyal following. Indeed, Orbis – a gluten-free restaurant – is now No. 1 on TripAdvisor for Rutland. On July 17 it made its 4,000th delivery, some of which have been free meals to vulnerable members of the community.

“To be honest, at the start of lockdown my main aim was to keep the rent paid and the staff employed,” says Jonathan. “We have managed to do that. In fact, we’ve actually increased turnover by around 20% even though we were already at full capacity when lockdown began.”

From August 12, Orbis will be serving food on plates again. Although they may well continue their successful delivery service
Head chef Sam McDonald

That said, the Orbis team are looking forward to reopening on August 12 when they will take part in the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme. “I can’t wait,” says Jonathan. “I didn’t get into this trade to send my food in cardboard boxes!”

To book a table at Orbis, click here.

The author:

Matt lives in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. He is passionate about the independent food & drink sector and founded Great Food Club in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town.