Petersham Nurseries should never have been given a Michelin Star.
Technically, the Michelin Guide’s rules don’t allow for stars to be awarded to places like this: there are no tablecloths, the service is a little haphazard, the loos are in a wooden shack, and there’s frequently bare earth underfoot. It’s not a fine dining experience.
But the food is just so bloody good, they decided to make an exception.
They needn’t have bothered – after being inundated with customers lamenting the lack of crisp linens & doting waiters, they took the rather unusual move of asking to have their Star taken away. Then head chef Skye Gyngell (who now has her own place, Spring) called the award a “curse” that lumbered the venue with inappropriate expectations, and earnestly hopes to never win another.
But despite all this, the food is still bloody good.
If the weather is temperate enough, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this Richmond haunt was on the Med: the half-greenhouse-half-pergola restaurant is literally crawling with foliage and the mismatched garden furniture gives it a rustic farmhouse quality – all that’s missing is a vineyard outside that gives way to the rolling Tuscan hills.
The menu reads like any good Mediterranean, Italian-leaning one should, with quality ingredients at its heart – so fresh in fact that most of it comes from their own 66-acre Haye Farm in Devon. Not fresh enough? Fine, how about the garden you’re sat next to. It isn’t just a name after all, this is literally a vegetable nursery.
Expect dishes such as burrata with white peaches, prosciutto and nasturtium; or a green bean salad with Haye Farm egg, anchovy, parmesan and basil to start, followed by plaice ‘on the bone’ with Haye Farm tomatoes, basil and agretti; or some Haye Farm lamb with summer beans, anchovy, tomato and basil.
Devour a plum and almond tart to finish and you’ll certainly be in need of a walk… and luckily the garden nurseries are right next door, so you can roll straight there to peruse their array of plant life before finishing in the home & gardenware shop.
The place should be given an award of some kind.
NOTE: Petersham Nurseries’ Garden Café is open Tuesday to Sunday. To make a booking, or to buy tickets to one of their regular supperclubs and special events, head to their website right HERE.
ALSO NOTE: They now have a more central set of shops & restaurants – check out Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden.
Petersham Nurseries | Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, Richmond, TW10 7AB
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