Washing up with the chef director of a restaurant I’m soon to review is a first. But that’s exactly what I’m doing alongside Damian Clisby, the man behind the menus of Petersham Nurseries the second.
We’re in the kitchen of Haye Farm. It’s owned by Harry Boglione, whose parents are behind the growing Petersham ‘empire’. It’s here that much of the restaurant’s produce is grown.
Bring cool clients who are as interested in the surroundings as they are the food
The original Petersham Nurseries in Richmond has a loyal following. It was opened in 2004 by Gael and Francesco Boglione with their friend chef Skye Gyngell. Now, they’ve opened its bigger, newer sister in the middle of Covent Garden with two restaurants – The Petersham and La Goccia – a courtyard, a deli and a flower shop.
Fast-forward a fortnight and I’m in The Petersham, the more ‘fine-dining’ of the two restaurants. It also comes with a semi-private dining room, which can be curtained off for 32 guests.
The interiors are a reflection of the Bogliones’ family home. There are flowers – lots and lots of them – and the smell perfumes the whole space. Indoor trees nearly reach the ceiling, while crystal chandeliers hang from it.
It’s the food, though, that really reflects brand Petersham. A snack of quinoa, lovage and pea crostata is light and fresh, and comes served on raw, open pea pods, garnished with flowers. My starter of saffron gnocchi with Cornish mussels, peas shoots and spring flowers swims in a bright and refreshing broth.
The Haye Farm lamb cuts like cake, while my fish stew of lobster, red gurnard and squid makes a good bouillabaisse I recently had pale. And I’m still thinking about the clever Original Bean chocolate with olive oil ice cream and sea salt dessert.
This is the place to bring clients who are as interested in the surroundings as they are the food; the place to bring young teams who can book the flower shop for masterclasses. Or to buy your client a present using the corporate gifting service.
In summer, I’m expecting the Courtyard to come into its own, with a variety of alfresco entertaining options. With any luck you won’t have to do the washing up.
Floral Court, WC2E 9FB | 020 7305 7676
Private dining: 32
Semi-private dining: 30, 30