Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is the stuff of legend; an unloved nursery purchased by folks escaping the rat race (with little “nursery” experience) that has grown into a successful shop and Michelin starred restaurant… and we suspect an aspirational family business cum lifestyle brand. We’ve wanted to visit but Richmond is a day trip for us, so we couldn’t wait to try the Petersham Nurseries offshoot as soon as it opened in Covent Garden.
Whilst there might not be an actual nursery, the Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden outpost has, at its heart, a lifestyle store and florist – one of those gorgeous shops where everything looks super stylish, chic and you want to buy it all. Luckily, we only had 20 minutes browsing time before our table was ready, so we managed to steer ourselves away empty handed at some relief to the wallet, but we have a suspicion we’ll be heading back. Food wise there are three dining experiences all around a central courtyard; The Delicatessena food shop-cum-deli for the most casual of casual dining, La Goccia for casual tapas, and The Petersham fine dining experience. We went for a late afternoon/early evening snack, so opted for La Goccia and pleased we did – all three were busy but La Goccia seemed to have the best, fun and relaxed vibe and, word of warning, by the time the sun set all were looking empty – we felt it a very ‘daytime’ kind of a place.
La Goccia follows the ever-so-trendy tapas style of dining; plates are reasonably priced in the £10 (give or take) range, and servings are small/average sized but reasonable based on the quality of food and the restaurants location. A lady who lunches could have a moderately priced meal but for a hungry empty-bellied carnivore the price can quickly add up, so take care when you order (the staff recommend around four dishes per person). If it helps, everything we had was divine! Our vegan dining companion indulged from the “garden” section, with ample vegan-friendly options, whilst meat-eating Elldrew wolfed down a selection which included mouth-watering prosciutto croquettes, beef spiedino (think mini chilli beef skewers), and crispy chicken bites (uber-posh KFC really). We all shared a mini pizzette and some onion & rosemary focaccia. The potato, garlic and rosemary al forno was so good we had to order a second portion before dessert as an…errr…palette cleanser.
Dessert was too tempting to refuse with Drew diving into a divine, light and summery Amalfi lemon tart and Ell choosing the mascarpone semifreddo wafer. As is becoming the norm, we fought over which was the best dessert; we’d have had seconds for both if it wasn’t summer holiday season.
Cocktails were great, the wine (served by the bottle or carafe, hit the spot) and the staff were just brilliant. We’ll be back – whether we go for the shop and find ourselves eating there; or go for lunch and just happen upon the shop, we’re not quite sure but one way or another we’ll definitely return soon.
31 King St, London WC2E 8JB