A New Chef at the Petersham Hotel:
For the last few years, I’ve been an occasional visitor to the Petersham Hotel, it’s a little too far from Kennington for me to be more than that but I’m always pleased to go back there. The stunning Victorian ‘Italian Gothic’ hotel looks out over a view of Petersham Meadows famously captured by J.M.W Turner (Tate Britain), quintessential England and a popular beauty spot from the 18th Century.
The restaurant enjoys wonderful views of the River Thames and the meadows and that in its own right is enough to persuade me to make the hour or so journey from home for lunch or dinner. Of course, I do take rather longer to get there than is strictly necessary.
My trip involves a 5-minute tube journey to Waterloo, around 20 minutes on the train to Richmond and then a slow amble along the Thames towpath to Petersham. Now, there’s a new chef, Jean-Didier Gouges and a perfect excuse to go back again.
Of course any meal at The Petersham should start with drinks at the bar or on the Terrace. Just a week or two too early to sit outside, we nevertheless loved sipping our champagne and enjoying the bar snacks.
Once we got to our table, we both struggled to pick starters from a list where we wanted to try everything but were both equally delighted by our choice of dish.
My companion hails from Cornwall and I think orders crab whenever it is on offer because it brings back memories for her. Her ‘Crab Quinoa’ was a festival of flavours – bacon powder, mango and citrus pearls, keta caviar, coriander cress and pickled ginger wasabi mayo. Beautifully plated, she polished it off so quickly that I suspect it tasted just as good.
For me, St Jacques scallops with squid ink cake with beetroot a tapioca tuile with keta caviar and tempura samphire. Another pretty dish, this was considerably lighter than I’d anticipated and packed with flavour. I’m off to make tempura samphire as soon as too – one of those Masterchef type inspirations I fully intend to copy!
We both enjoyed a crisp light Château Bel-Air Perponcher Entre-deux-Mers with our starters.
Perfectly cooked fish was complemented by the nutty beurre noisette and a scattering of capers. This was accompanied by a glass of 2015 Macon Bussiers ‘Petersham’ Domaine Gonon, Burgundy, a richer, buttery white wine which worked well for both of us.
My companion opted for fish too – the monkfish and parma ham ballotine which was a more substantial dish.
My companion’s dessert was the showstopper mandarine and mint cheesecake. Definitely the subject of much food envy from me – I’d expected a bland slice – what appeared was a delectable light cheesecake coated in a mandarin and white chocolate shell with a biscuit base.
Though if I am honest, I was no less happy with my own choice of Ginger and Apple souffle with ice cream and a tiny madeleine.
Each of us enjoyed a glass of dessert wine too, Petit Manseng Les Dernières Grives, Côtes de Gascogne 2015 and Nobile Semillon from Mitchell Winery South Australia.
We very much enjoyed having our wines picked for us by the very capable team at The Petersham where there’s an extensive wine cellar and they even have their own champagne cuvée. And, we loved the menu from Didier. It’s a seasonal one, so things have already changed (though classics like the Dover Sole I enjoyed remain!). But I somehow doubt you’ll be disappointed.
For dinner reservations
The Petersham Hotel
London TW10 6UZ