For those still mourning the loss of the beloved Glasshouse, a Michelin guide restaurant which served Kew locals for more than two steady decades, Hawthorn has swooped in to fill the void. This latest venture, although starless due to being a few months old, is a worthy replacement for its previous tenant. Chef Joshua Hunter brings his classical cooking to Kew from Michelin-starred restaurants Kitchen W8 and La Trompette, while front of house is run by Glasshouse alumnus Patra Panas. Together, they’ve cooked up a fine dining neighbourhood restaurant; the sort you’d only really book for special occasions but that still manages to feel friendly and relaxed.
The décor hasn’t deviated much from its predecessor, with wooden floors, white tablecloths and a garish textured gold wall which regretfully gets to live another life. Still, Hawthorn has a clear vision of its own. It offers three courses for £65 in the evening, or £45 at lunch, and there’s an extensive wine list which a brilliant sommelier will help you navigate should you require assistance. In general, we felt we were in incredibly capable hands, with flawless service never missing a beat, or a smile, all evening.
Joshua’s classical training is the driving force behind his rule-abiding, yet utterly delicious, menu. A plump scallop and crab raviolo is the perfect example of this, a generously-filled medallion of soft scallop meat swimming in a pool of brown crab butter. What follows is greater still: meltingly tender lamb shoulder served with butter-soaked morels, bite-sized rounds of fondant potato that hum with notes of caramel, verdant new season asparagus and a sticky wild garlic and lamb jus. To finish, macerated strawberries that taste like sweets are topped with two quenelles of vanilla-specked cream and finished with a Hobnob crumb. It’s like a deconstructed cheesecake, only less pretentious and executed flawlessly.
By 8pm, the restaurant is practically vibrating with jovial diners who clearly welcome Hawthorn’s arrival with open arms. That alone speaks for itself. Kew’s Glasshouse-shaped hole has been well and truly filled.