Evocative of a Victorian English country house, you’ll find nothing but excellence at this restaurant with the best views in Richmond.
Away from the bustle of Richmond Town Centre, The Petersham proudly sits atop Richmond Hill and has done so since 1856. No matter which side you approach from, you can’t help but be taken aback by the rather grand appearance of the place – few buildings in the area possess such strikingly classical design nowadays.
Akin to the expectations of the Lords and Ladies of the Victorian era, uniformed staff greeted us on the door and took us to our table in a very professional manner, though not without the warmth and welcome that we now expect in the 21st century – not forgetting the offering of champagne on arrival.
Perhaps distracted by the dazzling, luxurious and recently renovated interior, we hadn’t taken a proper look at the rather extensive wine menu when our waiter came around to take our order. Rather than take the slightly awkward route of “umming” and “ahhing” over our choice, our waiter happened to be a sommelier and deftly selected wines to accompany the food we had ordered throughout the evening. Needless to say, his recommendations were excellent choices that suited our personal preferences and meals alike.
To start we ordered Honey Roast Saddle Back Pork Belly and Steamed Lasagne Of Cornish Crab.
Forget the disappointingly dry and overcooked pork belly you’ve suffered in the past, The Petersham’s take on it was perfectly executed, with a sweetness and succulence to the meat that was irresistible – the carrot purée, gorgonzola gnocchi and baked apple were simply wonderful accompaniments.
Beautifully fresh and light from the steaming process, the characteristic meaty, seafood sweetness of crab melded with the tarragon butter’s richness and gentle notes of aniseed, skillfully cut through by the salty and acidic intensity of the occasional lilliput caper – a lovely little lasagne that’s not to be missed!
Our mains – beautifully presented like everything else – were the Duo of Brechin Beef and Roast Scottish Halibut.
Bordelaise sauce is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? The red wine-enriched sauce formed the basis of this dish, adding a luscious glaze and deep, rich flavour to the sumptuous medium rare fillet of beef and melt off the bone Jacob’s Ladder short rib. Not to be wasted, the sauce also found itself soaked up by the utterly buttery and crisp to the edges Potato Anna, coating the well considered greens on the plate too.
Unaware of the difference between Scottish Halibut and halibut from other regions, it’s hard to say how they compare, but if you’re looking to be mesmerised by a fillet of fish then try this dish. The moistly succulent yet flaky fish contrasting with its perfectly crisp and seasoned skin can only be described as exceptional. With the addition of a juicy, flavourful slice of chorizo like you wouldn’t believe, a bed of pleasingly peppery puy lentils and Pernod sauce (creamy with a hint of anise), I’ll say it again – exceptional.
Sailing through to our final course for the evening, it’s worth noting that despite what preconceptions you might have about fine dining, the portion sizes had truly been rather generous and just right – only empty plates left the table.
Topped with toasted flaked almonds and with a base of superb shortcrust pastry, the Damson Plum Tart offered a substantial bite, revealing the sweet, tangy tartness of plums and damson within. Together with a dollop of gorgeous caramel ice cream and sticky sweet port sauce, what you get is a deliciously rich and moist dessert – highly recommended.
The Dark Chocolate Threeway expertly showcases a variety of delightful ways that chocolate can be used; each item on the plate a treat, the mousse, brownie, truffle, ice cream and scattering of chocolate crumb were all equally delectable.
It’s hard to state just how exceptional an evening we had; hats off to Adebola Adeshina, the award-winning head chef of the Petersham for an exciting new a la carte menu that brought joy with every mouthful – we really couldn’t fault it.
Of course there’s no avoiding the price, it’s undeniably expensive, but The Petersham isn’t the sort of place you go for a casual bite to eat – this is somewhere to save for special occasions. If you really want Richmond’s finest food, views and service, then spare no expense for excellence.