I am always in awe of this beautiful building. It's located down a historic footpath, which is now a road, from Richmond Hill. Petersham Hotel is almost intimidating as you approach. Its high tower and Gothic styled balconies make it quite an imposing feature. The gardens are well manicured and it's location allows for seamless views across Petersham Meadows and river Thames, our venue for tonight's meal. We were early and headed for an aperitif in the bar area which in actuality, seemed more like a doctors waiting room, it's a little dated. We had a wait for service and drinks, it took almost 20 minutes before we got our beverages by this time it was past our dinner booking, this didn't appear to be a problem. It wasn't busy, one other couple who'd finished their high tea in the bar area and that's it. So far the drinks service had been slow but fortunately, things perked up when we were moved to the dining area.
The restaurant describe their food as being fine British cooking as reflected in the dish above of Ham and Tongue. The a la carte menu wasn't exactly extensive, but you could mix options with their summer menu which gave more rounded options. There were a few inconsistencies between the menu and what was plated but in all fairness they did warn on their website that dishes may be changed at short notice, and the food that was served, was very good. The tongue was served with roasted pepper, coriander and feta yoghurt. The other starter was Brochette Salmon with smoked haddock, sorrel risotto and lemon sauce. This was a sizeable starter, topped with airy crisp seaweed that had a bright sea flavour. Tender fish with a wicked smoky charcoal burn on the outside of the Salmon, this was delicious. The tongue was delicate and both starters I felt were very well executed and tasty. The presentation of the salmon was not as delicate but I do like how the seaweed adds to the dish.
The staff were polite for our table service, the main waiter had personality a plenty, was very efficient and oozed experience. The dining room, once you get out of the waiting room, is lovely with decent views across meadows and the distant river. The facilities in the hotel are of very high standard, so with all of this, I wondered why they'd Steak and Chips on the menu. I decided to order it. Turned out to be a winner. The steak was simply perfect, 20% fat to meat ratio. Properly cooked, properly seasoned properly everything, the Madeira jus and the mushrooms, a bit of bearnaise and you are in heaven. Each item, so simple and so understated, the tomatoes incredibly sweet and floral, the mushrooms with deep intense earthy flavour. It's difficult to illustrate how good this simple steak meal was, if you're craving a top steak then this has to be one of your choices.
The other mains from the menu were seared scallops, scallps were replaced with Fish and Octopus. The octopus was served lovely and soft with crushed potato in a devilishly buttery sauce. A scattering of fennel, watercress, lettuce and broccoli and a garnish of samphire.
We had quite delectable desserts as pictured below. A rich Chocolate Mousse with cherry in alcohol. This was like a chocolate foie gras, dense, sweet and sour. Also for sweets, the buttermilk Panna Cotta with Blackberry compote, honeycomb ice cream served in a glass.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable dinner, apart from a few pre dinner service hiccups and the oddity of the bar area with its tired looking furnishings it's obvious the restaurant separates itself by serving excellent cuisine with great table side service. I would mention that I find the pricing on the expensive side so it's very hard to recommend other than that of a special occasion, even then it is still a hefty amount. I would love to see a set three course menu at a more reasonable offering, this would see the punters coming in. It's a shame to keep that lovely view all to themselves.
|Petersham Hotel Restaurant|