An Italian Lunch at Petersham Nurseries

Petersham Nurseries has always been on my wish list of restaurants to visit. I’d heard rumours of the beautiful surroundings and fresh seasonal cuisine, but never managed to visit the remote restaurant that is located on the outskirts of Richmond.

Last week I was one of the lucky few to attend a bespoke dining experience at Petersham Nurseries to celebrate the perfect pair of products from the Italian Region of Emilia Romagna: Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O.

An Italian Lunch at Petersham Nurseries

A group of culinary experts sat in one of the leafy greenhouses for a set lunch by renowned Head Chef at Petersham Nurseries, Damian Clisby, and Head Chef of Nido del Picchio, Daniele Repetti. The two chefs worked together to create a menu with recipes featuring and inspired by the different ages of Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. 

An Italian Lunch at Petersham Nurseries

Whimsical floral bouquets adorned the tables and sets of silver cutlery were set out awaiting our grand five-course Italian meal.

An Italian Lunch at Petersham Nurseries

But before it was time to feast we had an informative talk from Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. experts who explained the processes of making these precious products and how to taste the difference in ages of the cheese and vinegars. 

An Italian Lunch at Petersham Nurseries

Lunch Menu: 

  • 24, 36, 48 Month Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O., Spring Vegetables, Speck & Haye Farm Egg with 25 Year Old Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. Extra Vecchio
  • 24 Month Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. Cheese Terrine with Herbs, Asparagus tips, Flowers with 12 Year Old Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O.
  • 24 Month Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. Cappelletti Pasta in Asparagus, Mushroom and Seaweed Broth
  • Lamb Cutlet, Artichoke Alla Romana with 24 Month Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. with 12 Year Old Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O.
  • Coffee Mousse, Chocolate Ganache, Creamy Cardamom Milk, Beetroot Coral & Green Coffee Meringue with 25 Year Old Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. Extra Vecchio

An Italian Lunch at Petersham Nurseries

Though the flavour of Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. are very strong, the chefs managed to cleverly balance the flavours and textures of each dish to show different qualities of the ingredients. My favourite course was without a doubt the homemade cappelletti pasta, filled with rich 24 Month Parmigiano Reggiano, cooked to perfection and served in a delicate vegetable broth. It was a comforting but refined dish that I remember fondly.

An Italian Lunch at Petersham Nurseries

The dessert was sensational too, a strange but tasty combination of flavours, which combined to make a magical pudding full of intrigue and delight. The deep coffee flavour combined beautifully with the earthy beetroot and sweet chocolate.

After four hours of eating, drinking and discussing food it was sadly time for the meal to end. My first visit to Petersham Nurseries exceeded all my expectations thanks to the special feast of Parmigiano Reggiano P.D.O. and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena P.D.O. recipes.

More information and book a table at Petersham Nurseries here.

Treves & Hyde, Aldgate East

Treves & Hyde have set up with a stellar line-up at hand. Chef George Tannock heads up the kitchen, Bartender Stefano Campigli serves up innovative cocktails and award-winning barista James Wise is leading the coffee shop downstairs. Each expert has put their creative touch on the Treves & Hyde offering to ensure that the food and drink served is of the best quality. And so it’s hardly surprising that this unusual little restaurant (upstairs in Aldgate East) is already garnering numerous positive reviews from London’s foodies, despite only opening a month or so ago.

Treves & HydeTreves and Hyde

I was impressed with the eatery before even tasting the food… the design is simple but stylish with plenty of green plants adding character to the otherwise quite industrial building. The floor to ceiling windows give plentiful light to the room while also displaying a rather bland city street view.

Treves and Hyde

The succinct menu lists snacks, starters, mains, sides and desserts. There are just three or four choices for each, and yet we still struggled to decide which to choose when our waitress described each dish in tempting detail. In the end we decided to let the chef take charge and choose our fate. After sampling most of the recipes from the menu, I can now recommend my top picks…

To munch on (preferably with the ‘east quarter’ cocktail) order the Red Pepper Arancini, delicious fried rice balls which will perk up your appetite. From the starter section we loved the Asparagus with Egg Yolk, Morels and Wild Garlic – a great combination of seasonal spring ingredients. For main course don’t miss the legendary Grilled Lemon Verbena Chicken with Radish and Cucumber, which is tender and full of flavour thanks to the lengthy overnight soak in buttermilk. The Beef Brisket with Bacon Pudding and Marinda Tomato was also a hit, smoked downstairs in the restaurant’s smoker, it had a sensational rich flavour. Green Beans & Toasted Almonds are a simple but tasty side dish to pair with the meat mains.

Treves and Hyde

There are only three desserts to choose from, naturally we tried all three. They are aimed to suit every diner’s sweet palate … but are dependent on your remaining appetite. Butterscotch creme caramel & Salted Popcorn is small but satisfying if you just want a tiny taste of something sweet. For something summery and refreshing, opt for the Gariguette Strawberries with Mango & Balsamic, or for a more substantial and rich dessert Valrhona Chocolate with Tarocco Orange & Pistachio is good.

Treves and Hyde

After lunch head down to the hip cafe where you can order a perfectly poured flat white from James, who was recently crowned the winner of Coffee Masters London 2017.

I left Treves & Hyde feeling full, happy, and a little bit envious of those working in the offices so nearby.

More information and book a table at Treves & Hyde here.

Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastián

Hotel Maria Cristina is without a doubt the most desirable place to stay in San Sebastian. The small and atmospheric town is full of lively restaurants serving delicious food but when it comes to finding somewhere to stay, there are only a few luxury hotels to choose from. Maria Cristina overlooks the Urumea River, just 5 minutes walk from the old town and the famous La Concha stretch of beach.

Hotel Maria Cristina

The beautiful belle epoque era building stands majestically, and is the hotel of choice for film stars who attend the San Sebastian film festival each year.

Hotel Maria Cristina

Inside the hotel it is even more decadent… with marble staircases and pillars, and grand artworks decorating the walls. After a speedy check-in we were riding up in the lift to room 110, a lovely deluxe terrace room.

Hotel Maria CristinaHotel Maria Cristina

Our elegant and spacious bedroom was the dream accommodation, with a giant bed as the centrepiece. The room was pristine white with accents of colour and pattern to add character. Above the bed, a colourful abstract headboard immediately attracted my attention, and on the walls the unique artworks cause pause for thought.

Needless to say I slept blissfully in the beautiful bed. As soon as I got in, the silky sheets seemed to hug me and send me nicely off into a deep sleep.

Hotel Maria CristinaHotel Maria Cristina

The bathroom was palatial with a marble-clad bathtub complete with stylish striped curtains, a powerful rain shower and separate toilet room. Piles of thick soft towels and bathrobes were awaiting use, and the full range of revitalise-me toiletries from Elemis were stocked in generous supply.

Hotel Maria Cristina

In order to enjoy our regal room for just a few hours longer we ordered a room service breakfast. The sun was shining brightly through our balcony, and it was lovely to eat while admiring the view. We feasted on an assortment of continental and a la carte treats including miniature pastries, tropical fruit salad and Eggs Benedict. Everything was beautifully prepared and tasted delicious.

As we checked out I noticed the hotel’s gourmet shop, Mimo, which sells a range of speciality meats and delicacies as well as cookery books and Basque products to remind you of your stay in this culinary city.

More information and book a room at Hotel Maria Cristina here.