I’ve been wanting to do this review for some time now. This place is very dear to my husband and I, and we frequent it a lot. From cosy, dark winter’s nights in the luxurious dining room to bright summer’s days of sipping champagne on the balcony overlooking the River Thames, as well as being the place where my husband seeked for my father’s permission (unknown to me at the time) to propose to me, we often find ourselves in this hidden, off the beaten track, true gem of Richmond, London, whether it’s for lunch, dinner, afternoon tea or just drinks or a snack at the bar.
The history and relationship we share with this place brings me to my dilemma, and the reason why only now have I decided to write this. I’m very conscious of being biased, and think I might be overcompensating this by being extra harsh, trying to find criticism. I have decided to write the review based on our most recent experience, as it just truly was too good not to shout about. As I wasn’t originally planning on writing this, I didn’t take pictures of the two first things, however it’s a good reason to go back to have them again to get the pictures, and will update them on this review as soon as possible.
We had a Tasting Menu, which was magnificent. We thought the standards were between 1-2 Michelin star level.
The meal started with appetisers of choux buns filled with parmesan custard, with chestnut and truffle shavings on top. The taste was absolutely perfect, however the pastry for me could’ve been a little bit more light and airy.
Next we had beef tartare, which again I absolutely loved. The egg yolk was mushy and beautiful. You may be used to often having mustard with beef tartare. Well, this one didn’t have mustard, and it still worked perfectly well because all the other elements and flavours complimented the beef so well, including the burnt onion ketchup. It was at this stage I decided I must do my review, and started taking pictures and making notes.
Next up was scallop. It was perfectly cooked, not overcooked which can easily be done. I could not fault this dish at all even if I tried. The scallop was served with chicken jus, yeast puree and salsify. What I also really loved was the very refined bacon crumb. All the elements were singing together in perfect harmony.
The scallop was followed by a mackerel dish. For me, the mackerel was slightly overcooked, however I still loved it because of all the flavours that again went perfectly together. The fish was served with smoked eel, celeriac puree and pieces and grape. I can’t remember ever having been served grapes with mackerel before, and would like to ask all the other restaurants ‘why not?’, as it was a perfect accompaniment, in fact vital to the whole dish. Smokiness of the eel and sweetness of the grapes were a great change to the usual friend of mackerel, beetroot (which of course works well too, but it was nice to see something different). The celeriac itself I often find quite bland wherever I’m eating it, but I can see it’s probably required for certain texture.
After the mackerel it was time for venison. Perfectly pink and soft, this lean meat was accompanied by red gabbage, blackberry, parsnips, parsnip puree and Parisian potatoes. My husband thought these were one the best potato ‘things’ he’s ever had.
After the venison it was time for a palate cleanser of granny smith apple sorbet, and honey and spice granita, with apple ball. The dish was refreshing and tasty, however the apple ball was a little bit hard.
For dessert we had a deconstructed clementine trifle. I don’t mind deconstructed desserts, but my husband isn’t usually a big fan. This time, however, he loved it. You had sweetness from the clementines, mascarpone mousse, ginger bread foam and aerated sponge. The proportions, as well as all the individual elements were executed very well. I think if the aerated sponge pieces were too big the dish could seem too dry (regardless of all the wet elements), but the dish had been thought out very well. I’m not generally a great fan of fruity desserts, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. I think the flavours went excellently together.
Finally, it was the petit fours: mint discs and chocolate brownies. What a heaven these brownies would be to anyone! They were extremely soft and gooey inside, absolutely perfect.