Garden Café, Lambeth: restaurant review
We get acquainted with Garden Café, an all-day restaurant with some serious culinary pedigree at the Garden Museum in Lambeth
What's the draw
As the average square footage of London's houses has begun to plummet almost as fast as the rent has risen, gardens in the capital (also known as that patch of weeds around the back where you keep your bins and bikes) are becoming fewer and farther between. So with that said, a museum entirely dedicated to gardens and their people seems a little odd. As it turns out, though, The Garden Museum was founded in 1977, and it's just The Garden Café that's cropped up in recent years. Chefs Harry Kaufman (formerly of Lyle's and St John Bread & Wine) and George Ryle (a Padella and Primeur prodigy) have been plating up in this polished wedge of glass, Scandi beechwood and beaten-bronze since the summer of 2017.View on Instagram
What to drink
Were bubbles made for drinking in the garden or were gardens made for drinking bubbles in? Either way we suggest kicking things off with a glass of Valencian cava, a natural sparkling wine with grassy notes and a touch of sweetness, made in the champagne method by Spanish winery Dominio de Tharsys. No matter where you're sat in The Garden Café you're never far from greenery, so we'll let you suss out the garden/bubbles conundrum yourself.
What to eat
The menu changes daily and is led by the seasons, which means you're not likely to encounter the same dishes as we did. But the best bit about The Garden Café is that the sun never sets on Kaufman and Ryle's unpretentious, ingredient-led style of cooking. With dishes ranging from creamy cervelle de canut, a sort of dill-infused French cheese spread toast-topper, to spring-fresh wild garlic gnocchi and featherblade steak with sharp pickled walnuts, this is all-day dining at its best. Next time you find yourself wandering in the no man's land between the Palace of Westminster, the Tate Britain and, er, Vauxhall, pop in and see for what we mean. The garden might be better than yours, but there's no reason you can't take a leisurely lunch, a bit of brunch or a casual dinner (only on Tuesdays and Fridays, mind) in it.
Mains from £12; wine from £4.5 by the glass. 5 Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 7LB; gardenmuseum.org.uk