This “stunning” offshoot of Richmond’s Petersham Nurseries has gained plenty of attributes since its arrival in Covent Garden – namely a wine merchant’s, café-bar (La Goccia), florist’s, delicatessen and sun-dappled courtyard. The business started in 2004 as a shabby-chic garden centre but is now a ‘lifestyle brand’, with The Petersham (the complex’s more formal restaurant) at its apogee.
The venue looks gorgeous, a World of Interiors centrefold of abundant cut flowers, Murano glass, artworks and glistening chandeliers. The courtyard area is somewhat less convincing, the presence of passing shoppers compromising the idyll. However, it only takes one Rose Petal Prosecco to shake off the feeling of dining in a mall, while the menu will transport you to Italy by way of an English country garden.
The kitchen observes the seasons with gusto, which means serving pea, lovage and quinoa tartlets in spring and introducing broad bean hummus to heritage radishes in midsummer. Starters of artichoke risotto or sopressini pasta with beef shin ragù, lead naturally into mains such as salt-baked hake (to share) or roast Haye Farm chicken with polenta, radicchio, calcot onion and sage, while seasonal sides always include the Petersham garden salad.
Readers are also enamoured of pretty desserts such as blood orange jelly with Cocci vermouth and winter violas, while a plate of clementine and rosemary truffles makes the perfect finale. Sadly, living the dream here is an expensive business, so dip a toe in first with the pre-theatre menu and order carefully from the all-Italian wine list.