The room is packed with objects drawing on the Boglione family’s passions for contemporary art, Murano glassware, and all things floral of course. It’s quite a relaxed setting, with tiny tables crammed together in a space humming with excited chatter from a very trendy clientele. A gorgeous scent of freshly cut flowers fills the air.
To start, we had some lovely little appetisers, of which the quinoa, lovage and pea crostata was clearly the star. It was a riot of vibrant green and fresh pea flavour, even if the cherry blossom and pea pod plate decoration dwarfed the dish itself. Then we moved on to the starters, which for us were the highlights. A sweet venison tartar was given added texture with Zisola almonds, but the standout dish was an excellent plate of artichoke alla Romana with parmesan, Nocellara olives and wild chervil.
My companion plumped for a rich fish stew with aioli to follow, which was packed with fresh seafood and delicately flavoured. The only disappointing dish was the saffron gnocchi, which was perhaps where they slid too far into style over substance. The lovely decoration of pea shoots and flowers added little to the flavour, and couldn’t detract from the slightly waterlogged gnocchi in an underwhelming mussel-scattered soup.
But things were back on track again with pudding, where we welcomed gorgeous, delicate wild strawberries – a rare treat – in a dish spiked with a healthy dose of Vin Santo. And the original bean chocolate with olive oil ice cream and honeycomb is crowd-pleaser if ever there was one: a nice balance of taste and textures. The sommelier was wonderful too, recommending a smooth Piedmontese Chardonnay (a risk for a long-time Chardonnay naysayer like myself) which turned out to be a lovely accompaniment to the seafood.
It’s not the most mind-blowing menu in London, but head chef Joseph Fox, under the watchful eye of Petersham Nursaries’ Chef Director Damian Clisby, has created an array of thoughtful, seasonal dishes. If you care about the slow food ethos and the use of seasonal local and Italian ingredients, you’ll probably love The Petersham.
Our biggest overall complaint was that the service was incredibly slow, and sometimes a little muddled. But the staff were very polite and attentive, and we sincerely hope that this was a simple case of opening week jitters. If they iron out those little kinks we could see it becoming a go-to destination for Covent Garden’s well-healed natives.
|What||The Petersham Restaurant, Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden review|
|Where||Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden, Floral Court, London, WC2E 9FB | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
23 Apr 18 – 30 Sep 20, Open 11:30am - midnight