On Saturday D. and I went to Petersham Nurseries for lunch, along with our friends Edward and Charlotte. I'd wanted to visit the cafe at Petersham for some time and by very happy coincidence Charlotte emailed last week to let us know that she'd booked a table for us all. Petersham Nurseries, a garden centre, was carved out of the grounds of Petersham House in Richmond in the 1970s.
In 1997, Gael and Francesco Boglione moved into Petersham House with their family. Threatened by demolition and property developers, the Bagliones acquired the neighbouring Petersham Nurseries and began renovations. After extensive restoration works, the nurseries reopened in 2004 completely transformed. Skye Gyngell acted as head chef until 2012, when Australian chef Greg Malouf took over.
The restaurant, situated in a greenhouse, is ramshackle and wonderful. The floor is sandy, the furniture is mismatched and there are flowers, herbs and plants all over the place - draped over beams, flowing out of terracotta pots, crawling under the tables and chairs. It really did feel like entering a wild, peaceful, beautiful oasis. In reality the weather on Saturday was grim and awful. This fabulous display however screamed spring with bells on.
We began the meal with a glass of rhubarb prosecco. That colour! Too much!
I ate polenta and colourful leaves (a very beautiful plate of food indeed), lamb with I can't quite remember what and a warm chocolate and macadamia nut tart. It was all pretty good, but to be honest I think the setting, drinks and good company rather trumped the food itself... I'd like to visit Petersham again in the summertime - I'm sure lunch outside in the gardens, on a hot July day, would be just glorious.