Oxford’s Jesus College has given us many notable figures over the years.
Harold Wilson, former Prime Minister.
Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens.
Peggy Jean… boat.
She’s the latest addition to the Beany Green family, joining Soho’s Scarlett Green, Victoria’s Timmy Green, and many others across the capital in dishing up Antipodean-style brunches, coffees, and cocktail-fuelled dinners. And she’s made her home on the former Jesus College barge in Richmond, furnishing a cosy dining room inside, and a beautiful terrace (complete with pizza oven) on the top deck, with amazing views over the water.
You’ll find Peggy Jean moored up on the north bank by Richmond Bridge, overlooking an idyllic setting: Richmond’s riverside pubs and restaurants are perched above stepped, grassy banks where locals are enjoying the evening sun, which sets over the water behind the boat.
Walking along the festoon-lit gangway, with arches of foliage overhead, you’ll emerge onto the beautifully restored two-storey barge. Inside is a cosy dining room and cocktail bar steeped in marble and rattan; outside the sun-trap deck is adorned with pink, scallop-edged parasols and horseshoe-shaped banquettes perfect for bigger groups.
Like its siblings, Peggy Jean brings London a little of the Aussie café culture its cofounder Prue Freeman grew up with. So it’s natural that brunch is the star attraction here, from sweetcorn fritters and fancy bacon rolls (featuring their famous holy f*ck hollandaise) alongside their award-winning banana bread sandwich.
But thanks to the twin dome pizza ovens on the top deck, there’s plenty of reasons to visit Peggy Jean later in the day too; dough’s topped by the likes of miso aubergine with caramelised shallots, and the Aussie (with cured leg ham and BBQ’d pineapple) is a particular highlight. And besides that, they also have small plates (try the feta & filo parcels, drizzled in honey) and larger main dishes like dry-aged tomahawk steaks to share, and melt-in-the-mouth fresh tuna, seared either side and served with candied beetroot.
To finish, share a Mars Bar cheesecake – an outrageous ball of decadence encased in a rock-hard chocolate shell – or enjoy a glass of frosé or a What-A-Melon cocktail as the sun sets. And be glad that it’s Peggy Jean, and not Harold Wilson you’re dining with this evening:
“If I had the choice between smoked salmon and tinned salmon, I’d have it tinned. With vinegar.” – Harold Wilson
NOTE: Peggy Jean is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can find out more, and book a table, HERE.
Peggy Jean | The Boat, Bridge Boathouses, Riverside, Richmond TW9 1TH
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