Petersham Nurseries is the ideal place to go on a summer day. Take a day out to visit Richmond park and have lunch at the relaxing greenhouse with top quality British food cooked using seasonal ingredients mostly grew in house at Petersham Nurseries. Masked by the name cafe, it’s actually a 1 Michelin starred restaurant, head chefed by the highly acclaimed Greg Malouf who previously worked at MoMo in Melborne for 12 years. The fresh air of the countryside, the perfect escape from London is all good, bar the weather catch. Petersham Nurseries can’t be visited on the day as booking for weekends has to be done at least one week ahead. Therefore, when I actually visited the place, it was down pouring for the whole day, standard..
The cafe is 30 min drive from west London, but parking is very limited and the alleyway that leads (church lane) to the greenhouse is difficult to find. We missed it a couple times and it’s a bit of a walk to reach the actual greenhouse, not ideal when it’s down pouring and muddy. Once inside, you can quickly forget everything outside, the weather, the worries or the stressful London. It’s fully heated so winter visits would be ok too. The tables are dotted around the greenhouse, separated by vegetable plants and garden pots. It’s a really beautiful and relaxing place to be, especially with family on weekends. There is also a separate tea house to enjoy delicious cakes.
Menu is very simple, one pager with half a dozen dishes for starter and main. Portion size is decent with plenty of vegetables for a well balanced dish.
Ricotta, sorrento tomatos, purple basil, bruschetta
Halibut brandade, red chicory and chives
Quail in mountain bread, spinach, organic chickpeas and barrel feta
A decent chunk of quail meat wrapped in the mountain bread, simple flavoured without too much dressing.
Whole roast grouse, sweet potato, beetroot and pistachios
Apparently this dish didn’t have too much flavour, could be improved more (according to friend).
Pork belly, cauliflower, black cabbage, farro & girolles
Perfect crackling, very good sauce and well balanced with lots of veg. A really good dish by any standard.
Wild seabass, with fennel, coco de pain, datterini and cockles
Rich chocolate torte with cherry syllabub
Plum and almond tart
Verdict - 3/5
Food (very good) - the food here reminds me of the quality from St John, simple cooking with good ingredients. The dishes we tried were good without any fault (possibly some improvements), well balanced with plenty of vegetables and good sauces. The desserts were average without anything special or memorable elements.
Service (busy) - you have to book in advance for this greenhouse cafe. All the tables were filled during our Sunday lunch and the wait between courses were longer than expected. It’s a beautiful and relaxing place to be on summer days, even on a rainy day, it’s fully heated and lit up. Not an easy place to find with a very hidden alleyway and long walk to the cafe.
Cost (£65pp) - very expensive, perhaps for the organic vegetables grew in house and the Michelin star status. You can judge for yourself whether it’s worth of it or not.
Church Lane, off Petersham Road
Richmond, TW10 7AG
020 8940 5230