• Modern European• Richmond
A restaurant in a garden centre might seem incongruous with the upper echelons of the London dining scene, but this restaurant from the venue’s founders Francesco and Gael Boglione saw a series of chefs, including Skye Gyngell and Damian Clisby, turn it into one of the most sought-after destinations in the area. The founding team added a restaurant in Covent Garden to the operation three years ago.
While many associate the Petersham Nurseries name with the restaurant, the site is a vast and fully functioning garden centre in Richmond. The dining experience takes place in the central café, a light and airy space full to bursting with fresh plants and flowers.
Food here is entirely dictated by the seasons, with much of the fresh produce grown in the venue’s kitchen garden. The kitchen team has a deft touch with ingredients, turning them into beautiful dishes that are emblematic of modern British dining.
There are garden restaurants, and then there’s the cafe at Petersham Nurseries. It’s essentially a cafe in the greenhouse of a private garden in Richmond, with Italian food that’s pricey, but always extremely pretty and the kind of thing even your pickiest friend would nod approvingly to.
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The Petersham is the super-swell one: a big exhilarating space, skilfully projecting that look of faded, almost haphazard, grandeur, with chandeliers, old floorboards, limewashed walls, hessian curtains, foxed patchwork mirrors, pretty Murano glassware, bold contemporary art, big tree ferns and, everywhere, theatrical bouquets of flowers.
Chic in the true meaning of the word (eccentric and original, very little napery), its understated luxury lay entirely in the food and, above all, its freshness.
The ultimate in rustic charm, complete with a real meadow on its doorstep, Petersham Nurseries is the perfect balm for the frazzled urbanite.
The menu reads like any good Mediterranean, Italian-leaning one should, with quality ingredients at its heart – so fresh in fact that most of it comes from their own 66-acre Haye Farm in Devon.