The Petersham Hotel Richmond is a perfect gem of a hotel and I am delighted to say it’s within walking distance of my home. OK, that walk would be a healthy trot of several miles but the hotel is near enough to be called local, and I am so pleased.
This impressive building is perched a good way up a hill, with one of the best views of the Thames. It looks idyllic from the hotel, with its meadows sweeping down to the river. The cows there have a perfect view of pleasure craft and athletic scullers. A very different face of the Thames from that found in central London. One can take a breath of fresh air in Richmond.
The Petersham is a well-appointed hotel and my review will be published soon, but it also has a delightful restaurant which is open to both guests and visitors alike. Here one can enjoy classic service, a relaxed smart/casual ambiance, and memorable food. Head Chef Jean-Didier Gouges (interview to follow soon) and his team deserve to be proud of both restaurant and menu. The wine list is rather fine, too!
Full of temptation and a dash of whimsy
The panoramic vista from the restaurant is reflected in banks of mirrors. The tables are well-spaced and white linen drifts in crisp waves. Bread arrives warm and fresh. Champagne arrives cool and sparkling. Menu arrives full of temptation and a dash of whimsy.
Chef Jean-Didier has presented a balanced bill of fare which will likely appeal to everyone. Dishes are delicious, but one lingers for a moment before eating, to smile. The presentation is thoughtful and rather charming. We marvelled at a Trio of Chicken Liver Parfait. This was an introduction to the chef’s skill and imagination. Yes, a savoury plate that has all the beauty of a dessert.
Perhaps the star of the starters was the Scallop and Crab with cucumber and yoghurt espuma (a Spanish word for foam), compressed watermelon, dill, and ginger crackers. There was plenty of seafood, which was complemented by that sweet fruit with its concentrated and fresh flavours. A must-try at the Petersham. Two Way Lamb with peas, spinach purée, radish, black olives, goat’s curd and Martini jus was hearty and savoury, and a perfect main dish. This was the very essence of lamb – full flavours and a tapestry of textures.
Snow White Apple was a stunning dessert. The apple wasn’t white: the name refers to Snow White (the lady of interest to the Seven Dwarves) and the perfect red apple with which she was tempted. This apple was indeed perfect and held a sweet surprise. It was artfully confectioned by this outstanding chef who has a passion not only for cooking but also for chocolate. Chef Jean-Didier has a couple of versions of this dessert, and either would be mouth-wateringly memorable and truly worthy of an Instagram post (if one is young enough to be bound by such social-media activity).
A glimpse of the imagination of Head Chef Jean-Didier Gouges
The restaurant at the Petersham is perhaps the finest of fine dining in the area, but it’s accessible and lacking the frosty formality of many places with such elevated cuisine. The staff are well-informed and friendly but it’s the food that will assure a return. The restaurant begs to be visited on more than one occasion. The first visit allows the diner a little glimpse of the imagination of Head Chef Jean-Didier Gouges, but that visit will pose the questions of what all those other dishes might look like and taste like, and what other unique flavours chef Jean-Didier might combine. I look forward to finding out.
Monday to Saturday: 7.00pm to 9.45pm
Sunday: 7.00pm to 9.00pm
Restaurant – firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 020 8940 7471
General – email@example.com
Visit Petersham Hotel here