The Petersham – Fine Dining, Victorian Splendour
July 9, 2017
Not many hotels can claim to share a view with some of the most celebrated Turner paintings. The Petersham can do just that. Overlooking the bend in the River Thames between Richmond and Teddington and Petersham Meadows, the landscape was famously captured by JMW Turner in a series of water colours and oil paintings created at different times during his career. The meadows are protected from development by an Act of Parliament passed in 1902 to safeguard the famous view from Richmond Hill, best seen from the Terrace Walk at the top of Nightingale Lane.
Built in 1865, the elegant Italian Gothic-style Petersham was designed by architect John Giles, who was also behind the Langham Hotel in Portland Place – London’s first “grand hotel”. The most notable feature of the interior is its stunning Portland stone staircase, said to be the tallest unsupported stone staircase in Europe.
Look up and the paintings on the ceiling were the work of the Italian Ferdinando Galli, who exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1866. Owned privately by the Dare family since 1978, the impressive four-star hotel boasts 58 bedrooms, including a penthouse, and is also popular for events and wedding parties.
We stayed in a beautifully presented mid-range room, complete with balcony overlooking the river . A ribboned packet of fudge was a welcome touch. A large comfy bed, with a velvet soft furry throw, elegant furnishings and classy decoration combined to create the perfect ambiance. Naturally, WiFi and posh tea and coffee making facilities were on offer too. The rooms are surprisingly affordable, while various packages, including dinner, bed and breakfast, are also available.
We enjoyed a sublime night’s sleep, but the highlight of our stay had to be in the recently refurbished Petersham Restaurant. Greeted at the entrance, we were taken to a table with panoramic windows overlooking the Thames for a pre-dinner aperitif of deliciously dry Petersham champagne, accompanied by homemade cheese straws and chubby gordo olives.
Then it was on to our table, dressed with white linen and silverware, again looking over the river. A traditional setting with excellent service, we chose three courses each from the tempting A La Carte menu.
Our waiter recommended an excellent bottle of 2015 Pouilly Fume for us, which set the tone for the evening. Priced at a very reasonable £20.75, this aromatic, yet robust French Sauvignon Blanc was a reminder that New World wines aren’t always the safest option.
Award-winning chef Ade Adeshina has pulled a blinder of a menu which focuses on modern British dishes incorporating the best seasonal ingredients, and we enjoyed one of the most delicious meals we have ever had with top service to match.
Perfect juicy sautéed scallops were accompanied by parsnip puree, crispy black pudding and banana plantain, while the exquisitely steamed Cornish crab lasagne in a tarragon butter sauce was sprinkled with mini Lilliput capers.
Mains comprised of mouth-watering roast Cornish cod on a white bean cassoulet with steamed Romanesco. Melt-in-your-mouth fillet of beef was partnered with soft buttery Potatoes Anna, artichoke, a wild boar ravioli and mushrooms. Sublime.
Desserts were equally divine – lemon curd macaron came with little dollops of white chocolate meringue and raspberry sorbet. Passionfruit soufflé was fittingly tart and served with orange compote and blueberry sorbet. Finally, we were treated to a plate of homemade chocolate truffles.
The standard of food and service was excellent, and at £41 for three courses, represents superb value (a fixed price menu – £22.95 for two courses or £26.95 for three courses per person – is also available). The restaurant is also open to non-residents, which gave it a warm, friendly feel.
Breakfast the next morning was a more straightforward affair in terms of food and service, but then our experience the night before would be hard to match.
Overall, we couldn’t recommend the Petersham more highly. Not only is the hotel close to Richmond and transport links into central London, but it’s a gorgeous place to stay, while the restaurant offers a relaxed, special dining experience that’s hard to beat.
Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Gareth Herincx