The Petersham, Covent Garden: restaurant review
The swanky new Covent Garden outpost of Richmond icon Petersham Nurseries makes the most of a stunning setting, seasonal British produce, and a lot of flowers
What's the draw
Richmond's rustic temple of Italian-by-way-of-seasonal-British cooking now has a sister, or rather two: casual cicchetti at La Goccia and fancier The Petersham, both of which (along with a plant shop and a deli) are set in an Italy-meets-old-London Covent Garden courtyard. It's all very, very gorgeous, and The Petersham – all towering floral displays, distressed mirror tiles and sexy modern art – is at the heart of it.
What to drink
To paraphrase Henry Ford, at The Petersham you can have wine from any country you like so long as it's Italy. Which, let's face it, isn't a bad thing (unless you don't like Italian wine, obviously), and there's a decent selection by the glass, too. A perky and aromatic vermentino from the Belguardo estate on the Tuscan coast pairs beautifully with bruschetta spilling over with Portland crab, and a chardonnay from coastal Piemonte – lush, sunny and bold – was more than big enough to handle a few delicate fillets of plaice.
What to eat
The cooking here's very much in the Italian tradition of letting great ingredients do a lot of the hard graft, and the menu's dripping with evocative names (cuore del Vesuvio tomatoes, Culatello di Zibello ham, Amalfi lemon) and namechecks for Haye Farm in Devon, run by Harry Boglione (whose parents own Petersham) and his partner, Emily. Dishes are predictably pretty and the layering-on of flavours is subtle; when it works it's a winner. A huge piece of pork loin on a bed of borlotti beans and a minerally sprig of agretti (you might know it as saltwort, or monk's beard) was excellent, as was chilli-dusted burrata with huge chunks of cuore del Vesuvio and mint leaves. A pea and girolle risotto, on the other hand, felt underpowered but I'll forgive them because the baked cheesecake – bruléed and dotted with flowers and tart little raspberries – was all time.
Starters from £12; mains from £23. Wine from £6.50 by the glass. 2 Floral Court, WC2E 9FB; petershamnurseries.com