Richmond upon Thames – The Bingham Hotel Restaurant:
I like Richmond a lot. I love Richmond Park, where you can almost pretend you are in the country, just a few miles from Central London. And, it’s somewhere that works well if, like me, you prefer a civilized and relaxed approach to shopping rather than the crowds of Oxford Street. But I hadn’t tried going there to eat for a long time.
The Bingham Hotel, on the banks of the Thames, is elegant and well appointed, just a few minutes walk from the main shopping centre. And a perfect place to enjoy a leisurely lunch, since the dining room looks out over the river. In fact in the summer, there are tables outside almost on the river bank but, in December it was just a bit too chilly for that. Rather better I think, to enjoy the fabulous view from the warmth of the dining room! But I’ll be back for sure in the Summer, particularly given the quality of the food we enjoyed.
At a late sitting for a midweek lunch, the restaurant was still reasonably busy. Tables are nicely spaced out and the restaurant does feel very comfortable.
The food, though, is the main event. Head Chef Shay Cooper has worked at Michelin star restaurants including the Juniper in Altrincham and the Vineyard in Stockcross. At the Bingham his menu is predominantly British, using local seasonal ingredients.
After an amuse bouche, I went on to enjoy the rabbit and foie gras terrine. Beautifully presented, this was unexpectedly light and delicately flavoured.
My dining companion’s smoked haddock risotto was pronounced excellent and looked a perfect dish for a cold winter’s afternoon. I like the concept of serving hollandaise with a fish based risotto and I’ll no doubt try my own version, though I doubt it will be up to scratch!
I chose the Roast Scottish Halibut for my main course. I love halibut and don’t often find it on the menu. This version came with a grilled razor clam, samphire and broccoli puree. Perfectly cooked flaky white fish accompanied by slightly salty samphire, a really tender razor clam and velvety smooth broccoli, this was a dish to die for.
My dining companion’s Cornish Seabass with sicilian red shrimp, courgette, ricotta gnocchi and smoked butter looked delicious too and she was particularly enthusiastic about the ricotta gnocchi, which could have been heavy in a less accomplished kitchen. I suspect we both chose our respective dishes because my dining companion was brought up in Cornwall, while I have a strong Scottish heritage. And that made it all the more charming.
For dessert I chose the buttermilk pannacotta with fig preserve, honey oat crumble and hibiscus tea doughnut. Just looking at the photo and writing out the menu is making me feel hungry! It was a lovely balanced dish, with the lightest of doughnuts almost convincing me that I wasn’t really eating more than I should (again!)
My dining companion’s Salted Butter Caramel with apple compote was similarly beautiful
We finished the meal with coffee and petit fours. And, I indulged in a glass of Tokaji, a delicious Hungarian sweet wine that I was delighted to find on the comprehensive wine list.
For me this was a lovely find. Somewhere I’d probably not have visited without an invitation to review and a worthy 3AA rosette restaurant. It also has a place in the Sunday Times top 100 restaurants. There’s an extensive wine list, with plenty of ‘by the glass’ options and the friendly restaurant manager is very happy to recommend the perfect wine to accompany your meal.