The extensively detailed list of the chef’s credentials, Adebola Adeshina, can be forgiven in light of the evening we enjoyed – a magnificent crescendo that ended in positive euphoria. The restaurant at the Petersham hotel is a classy joint with solid, sophisticated cooking with flashes of brilliance. Take a trip up Richmond hill for a view and dinner you’re sure to appreciate.
The restaurant could have been austere were it not for the flood of warm light from the waning sun that spilled through the wide windows and took the edge off the sterile white cloths. Shame it couldn’t warm the maître d’ up a little. Not to dwell but he was as stiff and unwelcoming as the napkins were starched, a slight sneer behind his pretentious and practiced, Queen’s English. We booked too late to sit in one of the enviable window tables as we were unceremoniously informed, a lesson learned… Regardless, the panorama out across the Thames is a delight and can be appreciated from almost anywhere.
The menu is relatively succinct and belies the detail to be found in the food that arrives. The warm, sundried tomato bread was the first clue that we were in for a treat. The starters were beautiful, there’s no other word for it. They looked stunning and tasted just equally so. I couldn’t tell you what all the drizzles and drops on my plate were. Grilled Wye Valley asparagus, poached hen egg, herb salad and truffle mayonnaise doesn’t provide much illumination. Whatever they were, they were delicious. My mum’s heritage tomato salad was also a massive hit and the warm marinated tiger prawn, a talking point. Quite everything that’s in the crushed avocado is still a mystery!
Mains were similarly well received. The confit duck leg with chorizo and cabbage was an olfactory triumph first and foremost. It’s been a while since a dish gave off such a delicious aroma. The textures were also top notch. The Sea bass was buried in garnish and maybe all the worse off for it, it’s a fabulous fish in its own right nor was the cod particularly memorable, a little meek and bland by all accounts although, it has to be said, pretty as a picture.
All was not lost though. The best was yet to come. Dessert. Give that pastry chef a medal. He absolutely stole the show. More specifically the passion fruit soufflé with buttermilk sorbet did. Oh my goodness. It was majestic, light, intense, airy, punchy, tropical, sweet, tart… what other adjectives can I dream up. None come close to worthy, it was truly triumphant. On any other day, I would have had no problem singing the praises of one of the other desserts but they had a tough job standing shoulder to shoulder with the proud height of the soufflé.
P.s. Excitement not attributable to the restaurant in any way but that added more magic to the evening was the surprise appearance of Simon Helberg, or Howard Wolowitz as he’s more commonly known. A family of massive Big Bang fans, particularly my sister the ardent physicist, meant that we were all massively star struck. Credit to her, she was brave enough to discretely approach one of her idols and, credit to him, he was very charming.