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Now settled in at Somerset House, Skye Gyngell is "continuing where she left off at Petersham Nurseries", producing artfully crafted dishes that let impeccable produce sing. There is a strong focus on seasonality, but Spring is also about 'new beginnings, energy and optimism': Gyngell's "sleek" transformation of the formal Grade II-listed wing has certainly breathed new life into this "stunning" neoclassical space, and its pretty covered courtyard garden too. Staff are noted for their "warm yet unobtrusive charm", while the kitchen sends out perfect Med-accented food, from "subtly flavoured" sea bream with a warm salad of chickpeas and cauliflower to al dente tagliolini in glossy white truffle butter or slow-roast pork belly with smashed celeriac, kale and cumin salsa verde. Pretty desserts such as buttermilk pannacotta with quince and candied walnuts also chime with the calendar. "An outstanding achievement" one reader concludes – and we have to agree.
The architecture of Somerset House is majestic and heavy, with its rather hefty air of hard work and gravity still redolent of the government offices it used to accommodate. But march through the entrance and turn right and along the frowning edifices, and you will find yourself in Spring – and an atmosphere so utterly opposite it might make you gasp.Airy, high-ceilinged and painted in pastel shades of green and blue, the dining room really is spring-like in feel...
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Alas my full time passion of writing and and film criticism doesn’t currently pay the bills. I’m back temping in a “proper job” to pays all the bills plus a little fun and frolics. I hope whoever devised open plan working is living out their days miserable as sin. Open plan working is like experiencing hell ever day. There is nowhere to hide!
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