Previewing the Chelsea Flower Show Brunch at Ritorno:
I love Chelsea during the flower show. The local shops and businesses really get into the spirit of the event each year and the installations seem to be increasingly spectacular. Not only that, but there are floral-themed cocktails and menus, all in keeping with the beautiful flower show. This year I was invited along to Ritorno to preview their special offer.
The elegant and refined terrace will be transformed with an installation by Ricky Paul Flowers, following the theme of ‘Floral Safari’. There’s a promise of a 3.5 metre giraffe made from around 3,00 carnations, chrysanthemums, succulents, and more.
And, when you get inside, there are bespoke floral cocktails from Mixologist Paolo Viola together with a Botanical Brunch on Wednesday 24th May, co-hosted by creative workshop specialists The Makery where, after enjoying a cocktail and lunch you’ll be able to try your hand at making floral jewellery.
Our gin-based ‘Chelsea in Fiori’ cocktails made use of all kinds of floral syrups including homemade apricot and zagara flower syrup, fresh bergamot juice, homemade watermelon and peach soda and Fiorente elderflower liqueur, combined with Italian Gin Monsieur topped with bee pollen.
They were pleasantly refreshing and, despite the floral syrups, not too sweet even for me.
We shared a burrata and a basket of Italian breads. We asked where the burrata was sourced and learnt that it was made in England to ensure that it was perfectly fresh.
And that the breads were made using an ancient Italian yeast which had been brought over to ensure authenticity. Served with a green courgette puree and courgette crisps this was a good way to start the meal.
Next, my companion enjoyed a perfectly seared Salmon with chickpeas, green courgette puree and fresh mint. Perfectly plated, she was impressed by the fresh and immaculately cooked fish.
For me, a bowl of artisan busiate pasta served with an Italian plum tomato and swordfish ragu and trapanese pesto (almonds, basil, cheese and tomatoes). Busiate pasta is handmade, like little pasta ringlets, by winding fine ribbons of pasta around a metal skewer. And, the pesto is the traditional Sicilian accompaniment. Perfect comfort food.
We shared the two beautiful desserts. Amaretti tiramisu had a rich creamy custard and masala infused amaretti biscuits. It was delicious and really rather elegant, served in a pretty glass bowl.
Deconstructed Sicilian cannoli made me smile a little. I tried making cannoli when I visited Sicily and it was, as our Italian cookery teacher said MANY times ‘un disastro’. It’s not easy to get those pretty shells right!
Somehow I doubt that the very professional team at Ritorno would have any problem making cannoli. But, they are also quite hard to eat because the shell tends to be rather crisp and the filling quite luscious. The pretty deconstructed sputnik like dish which appeared at our table tasted delicious, with a light ricotta cream studded with fragments of cannoli.
If you are looking for lunch and a break from the flower show, I can recommend the Botanical Brunch at Ritorno. Tickets cost £45 per person which includes two courses, cocktail, soft refreshments and 1hr workshop. To book contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can’t make it there during the Chelsea Flower Show, Ritorno offers lunch, evening service and a weekend brunch menu. Definitely worth exploring.
442 King’s Rd,
London SW10 0LQ