Sustainability in the City – Petrichor, Jermyn Street:
Finding a unique positioning for a hotel restaurant can be quite a challenge. There’s often a dichotomy between the needs of hotel residents searching for a home from home and those of dining guests looking for a destination restaurant. At Petrichor, the philosophy appears to be to focus on sustainable, high quality ingredients and the restaurant has won a gold award for sustainability for the last three years from the sustainable restaurant organisation. That is complemented by two AA rosettes.
The restaurant is an airy, modern brasserie styled room with picture windows looking out to the street. It was busy but not frenetic on a Thursday lunchtime with what appeared to be a mix of hotel guests and local business diners. Edging on informality without any compromise in service I’d be happy if my office was close enough to come here for lunch. Of course a glass of champagne to start does help things go smoothly.
A La Carte dining offers a reasonable choice of starters and main dishes, while the lunch and pre-theatre set menu is a reasonable £20.50 for two courses, including a glass of wine, beer or a soft drink and is a cut down version of the a la Carte that still manages to offer considerable choice.
I started with a celeriac apple and ham soup, which came with braised ham hock, truffle oil and a quails egg. A very promising start, I do love soup served this way. And I know just how hard it is to produce perfectly soft boiled quail eggs – let alone balance them on a heap of ham hock and apple!
I could find little to fault in this – there’s an art to making a soup special which was well mastered here.
My companion enjoyed the trio of quail, which came with pan fried quail best and egg, a confit leg croquette and a pretty plate of vegetables. He also managed to try the matched wine (I’m attempting to avoid drinking too much at the moment!) and seemed more than happy with the chardonnay offered.
Each dish does have a wine pairing – if I could find a fault with this it is simply that some are only available by the bottle. And, very few people will want to order a whole bottle of wine for each dish they select from the menu. We asked for a recommendation for our main course and were very pleased with the Shiraz offered.
My fillet steak was served with smoked potato puree, watercress, romanesco cauliflower, portabello mushroom, onion rings and braised ox cheeks. Everything tasted fabulous and if I have any criticism it is of a slightly steak-house type presentation with very vivid green breadcrumbs and those terribly-guiltily-nice onion rings. But, the steak was cooked perfectly and the flavour pairings really excellent.
The Wicks Manor Pork Belly chosen by my companion brought a smile to my face for more than one reason. I’ve just come back from a trip to Essex where we visited Wicks Manor Farm and I can vouch for the excellent production values of the farm and the quality of the meat they supply. And, the presentation was distinctly sunny too.
My companion is a bit of a pork belly fanatic and loved this dish – the pork was lean and tender and he told me that the vegetable purees of spinach and sweet potato were well matched. I tried to sneak a few of the straw potatoes, but they vanished in a trice so must have been good. We did indulge in some hand cut chips which were perfectly cooked, nicely crunchy on the outside with fluffy middles.
Neither of us really needed desserts but in the interest of the review went on to try. My chocolate brownie was lovely and I really enjoyed the piquant lime ice-cream accompaniment.
Less convinced by the Orange and Vanilla Alaska – I’m not sure whether my companion simply really want the brownie. The dessert menu is quite limited, although the cheeses looked very enticing and are supplied by Paxton and Whitfield.
This is somewhere I’d happily come back to for a business lunch or for pre-theatre dining. And, I’d be more than happy if I was a guest of the hotel and came to dine in the restaurant one evening. The quality of the ingredients and immaculate cooking shines through making this a very enjoyable dining experience. Service was excellent and a la carte prices really quite reasonable with mains between £16 and £25 and starters all under £10.
The Cavendish Hotel,
81 Jermyn St,
London SW1Y 6JF
Disclaimer: we dined as guests of the Cavendish Hotel