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Thursday, 11 November 2010

London Restaurant Reviews - The Petersham Hotel

Living as I do in Islington, Richmond is not an area I visit regularly but every time I do I am impressed at what a gorgeous part of London it is. The borough is home to Hampton Court Palace and The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, but it is the River Thames as well as Richmond Park (London's largest park) that dominate the atmosphere of the area. It feels green, village-like and very well to do, with the most beautiful open areas and walks along the river.

Last weekend I made my way to beautiful Richmond to visit The Petersham Hotel and try Alex Bentley's "Glorious Game Menu". Built in 1865, and still privately owned, The Petersham Hotel lies on the top of Richmond Hill and boasts the most amazing views over the Thames and the surrounding Petersham meadows (cows could be seen grazing happily there), making it hard to believe that we were still in London.

The hotel and restaurant were elegantly furnished, and had a warm and comfortable feel with plenty of natural light. Service was efficient but unobtrusive which is always a big plus (waiters seemed to unexpectedly materialise whenever you needed them).

As we perused the menu, Dr G and I ordered a glass of Joseph Perrier Champagne. The champagne was lemon-green in colour, with a nice mousse and toasty/yeasty notes on the palate. At £13.50 I was impressed that we were served a whole 200ml bottle each rather than a glass of champagne that we had ordered.

The "Glorious Game" lunch menu is priced at £21 for two courses or £24.50 for three courses and is only available during October and November. There is also an option to upgrade many of the starters and main courses to more sophisticated ones at a little extra cost.

As a starter, I had "Seared partridge breast" (£3 supplement). The meat was perfectly cooked with the leg wrapped in a crisp vine leaf, and served on a bed of choucroute and mushrooms, and black truffle toast. The flavours of game and autumnal vegetables were well matched in this dish.

Dr G decided to start with a "Ballotine of foie gras with pistachio & green peppercorns" (£6.50 supplement). This was also excellent - the foie gras was creamy and served with a slice of smoked duck, green beans and golden raisin and camomile jelly.

Another "Glorious Game" main dish was the "Roasted pigeon breast". This was served with smoked Morteau sausage (richly flavoured uncooked/smoked sausage from the Morteau region of France, smoked for at least 48 hours in sawdust from conifers and juniper) and choux farci (stuffed cabbage parcel), fondant sweet potato, blackberries and red wine reduction.

The "Pot roasted grouse" was well worth the £18 supplement tag. The meat tasted deliciously rich but not too gamey. It was served with game croutons, celeriac puree, braised red cabbage, and a fantastic bread sauce.

To accompany our game dishes, we ordered a lovely but entry level bottle of 08 Private Margaux Reserve @ £33.50 (Schroder and Schyler). As with most Bordeaux wines, this was a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, and had a good balance of fruit, tannin and acidity. I was pleasantly surprised to see the low mark up for this wine since it normally retails online at £17.99.

To finish off our bottle of Margaux, we had a selection of English and continental cheeses and quince jam or membrillo (£2.50 supplement) like Colsten Basset Stilton, Bosworth Ash Goats, Epoisses de Bourgogne, Reblechon Sovoi Alps, Livarot Normandie, and Comte Jura extra mature.

For dessert I ordered a "Pina colada rum baba" served with poached pineapple and coconut sorbet. The rum baba was light, similar to a souffle and tasted delicious with tropical fruit flavours.

Dr G opted for "Chocolate Moelleux" served with caramelised bananas and ice cream. The Chocolate Moelleux was very soft and yielding in the middle, with a lovely bitter chocolate flavour. I loved the presentation of this dish.

We were so entranced by the food, wine and the views from our table that we could scarcely believe three hours had passed when we rose at the end of our meal. We went for a brisk walk along the Thames path, which is at its most charming in Richmond and was the perfect end to our lunch.

Cost: the "Glorious Game" lunch menu is priced at £21.50 for two courses or £24.50 for three courses excluding drinks.

Likes: one of the best views in London, excellent standard of cooking, elegant surroundings. Perfect place for a lazy Sunday lunch followed by a stroll along the Thames.

Dislikes: although most wines were well priced, there were no options below £20.

Verdict: I can think of very few restaurants in London with such splendid views, outstanding British cooking, nor with such an impressive and well priced wine list. I was extremely impressed by The Petersham Hotel Restaurant in every respect. A really special place to take a relative or visitor you would like to impress, or as a treat for yourself. Very highly recommended.

Restaurant at the Petersham on Urbanspoon


  1. The article written by you very good, I like it very much.dolce and gabbana watches
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  2. That's lovely, looks like a great place to go for a special occasion too... did you see what the hotel is like at all?

  3. Hi Luiz, I was there for dinner the other night and I too absolutely loved it - I was quite surprised by how great it was considering I had not heard much before. The grouse was superb. Since I don't have any day shots of the views, I'll be sure to link back to this here review!

  4. What an absolute treat! I've always passed the hotel when I'm in Richmond but never gone in - perhaps next time!

  5. This supplements business really pisses me off - I know they're trying to make it look like you're getting a good deal, but if every other option needs a supplement then what's the point? I'd be interested to see what dishes on the menu didn't need extra cash.

  6. @ Janet - thanks, but pls don't try and sell your watches here...

    @ Kavey - the hotel was very elegant too. As Dr G and I left, there were a lot of people having afternoon tea at another room nearby, it looked also very good. Can't wait to go back there.

    @ Greedy Diva- thanks Carly, glad you enjoyed it too. Pls feel free to use any of my images in your post.

    @ Su-Lin - please do Su-Lin, I thoroughly recommend it.

    @ Lizzie - don't be p****d off Lizzie! The £24.50 menu was quite good and Dr G and I ordered a mixture of items from this and other "supplemented" items. The standard £24.50 (3 course menu) had the following dishes:


    - Homecured Mackerel & Oyster Beignet, beetroot risotto, melon and horseradish

    - Terrine of smoked ham & old spot pork, pickled vegetables and toast

    - Scottish smoked salmon, wholemeal bread and lemon

    - Tandoori spiced grilled quail, shallot bhaji, chickpea salad, yellow tomato and mango emulsion


    - Pot roasted wild duck & confit leg, endive and chestnut, puy lentils, the roasted juices with raisins

    - Warm hand rolled open lasagne, grilled goat's cheese, beetroot and pesto

    - Roasted pigeon breast, smoked morteau sausage, choux farci, fondant sweet potato, blackberries and red wine

    - Grilled dorade royal with parmesan crust, with a light stew of white beans, piquillo peppers, fennel and bacon.

    Puddings (at no extra charge/supplement):

    - Creme Brulee

    - Pina Colada Rum Baba (the one I had!)

    - Chocolate Moelleux (Dr G's choice)

    - Eton Mess

    - Homemade Petersham Ice Creams and Sorbets

    I would have been happy with any of the above choices, but as it happened I ordered other dishes which I fancied at the time.

  7. gosh, it looks fabulous and so reasonably priced. It is hard to believe that the hotel is based in London, it looks like rural wales or somewhere!

  8. I can't believe i had never heard of this hotel when i live so close to it. My wife and I cycles around Richmond Park and always struggle to find "descent" place to eat around there (don't fancy the burger from the greasy van). Now you have found the perfect place for us to go for boxing day lunch!

  9. £21.50? bargain! It is nice to go south of the river now and then :)

  10. @ Diana - I know I could literally see the cows grazing happily by the river Thames, hope you enjoy it.

    @ Martin Ng - I look forward to hearing your feedback Martin. Have fun.

    @ Winesleuth - Hey Denise, Richmond was such a revelation, I cannot wait to go back to The Petersham sometime soon. Enjoy the sun and warmth in Argentina!

  11. Looks beautiful! A great spot to take my brother as he comes to town next week!

    check us out!!


  12. Looks beautiful! A great spot to take my brother as he arrives next week!

  13. This looks amazing - food and atmosphere seem perfect. Can't wait to go myself.

  14. Oh man, now you told everybody. After staying there on business in - I think 2005 - for the first time I returned a couple of times with my wife for a "shopping/culture/food weekend". The food truly is incredible. And you know what: They forgot to bill us for the wine every single time we stayed there...


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