Nick Harman, Editor Foodepedia:
on www.foodepedia.co.uk. Please click here to read.
A fine position and an interior with its own ‘wow’ factor
Good Food Guide 2019
Kenneth Culhane’s cooking is a beacon in south-west London, his modern approach underpinned by a classical theme and driven by an awareness of the seasons and a grasp of flavour combinations that work.
Good Food Guide 2019
We’re celebrating a young Irish chef at the top of his game. We’re celebrating the exquisite dishes from his vegetarian menu. We’re celebrating a beautiful restaurant in a fairy-tale location.
a wonderful evening, the wines were excellent, the food matched them perfectly
International Food and Wine Society [IWFS]
One of the 46 Best of Britain from Skye to Kent and Cornwall
Fantastic ingredients used creatively in an Arts and Crafts setting
AA Guide 2017
One of the 10 coolest places to eat in the world in 2017
We have now held two business networking events at The Dysart Petersham and they have both been excellent. The venue is sophisticated, yet friendly and welcoming. The team did a wonderful job and all our attendees were highly impressed. The canapés were out of this world. If anyone wants somewhere special to go in Richmond, I will always recommend this place. And many congratulations on the Good Food Guide Top 100 Restaurants accolade – well deserved!
Best of Richmond
Ranked No 55 in the Top 100 restaurants in the whole of the UK by the 2015 Good Food Guide
“Superbly inventive and precise cooking”
“Canapes start at ‘stunning’ ”
“Exemplary cooking skills, innovative ideas, impeccable ingredients and an
element of excitement”
in addition, according to the ‘Eating Undercover’ section of the Guide, a dish from The Dysart Petersham is one of the top five highlights of the year, citing its Soy and mirin-marinated scallop sushi with truffle mayonnaise as the ‘Best single bite of food I ate this year.’
The Waitrose Good Food Guide 2015
I’ve just found my new favourite restaurant, and it’s in the form of a semi fine dining, unpretentious, relaxed, well priced former gastropub – serving absolutely stunning food. I could probably stop writing everything here on with that one liner but talking about this food is not only exciting, but extremely easy and a real pleasure. The only one criticism I can really give The Dysart is not being closer to my home. Nestled away in what I thought was deep deep Richmond really wasn’t true. Taking a walk through the lovely village, down towards the river, through a stunning field and you’re pretty much at the front door. With a choice to sit inside the beautifully decorated dining room, or outside in the lush green pretty courtyard – it’s really up to you.
Despite being on the tube (just), leafy Richmond, with its sylvan river pathways and jumbo cords, panama hats and shops for chic ladies d’un certain age, is so Not London, it’s like being in a foreign county. Oh, that’s right – it’s Surrey, which has become shorthand for everything polished and perjink and twee. And Petersham Road isn’t likely to loom large on the tick-lists of the capital’s foodie jeunesse dorée. The Dysart, in all its Tudorbethan, mullion-windowed magnificence, could almost come adorned with a banner saying, “Gin and Jag-ers welcome.” (I don’t mean Jaggers, although he does live up the road.) But anyone sniffy about suburbs or half-timbering would be missing a massive trick: there’s some significant talent in this kitchen.
That it’s no common or garden boozer is evident in, well, the garden. From this lush exuberance chef (and former Roux scholarship winner), Kenneth Culhane gathers herbs and leaves and edible flowers for his meticulously presented dishes. You can gauge the poshness by the freebies. Canapés: buttery parmesan shortbread topped with leaves of piment d’espelette jelly. Amuses: peeled cherry tomatoes in a relish made from cornue des Andes (chilli-shaped tomatoes of sweet intensity) with blobs of olive oil “jam”. And petits fours: squares of vivid fruit jelly and salted caramel truffles. This has destination dining writ large over the flagstones and heritage colour charts.
Culhane’s food plays with classic French technique and outré Japanese flavours. Here are hand-dived scallops, caramelised outside and opalescent within, in a crystal-clear broth scented with fennel and the savoury thrum of wakame; so far, so conventional(ish). Then you discern a fleeting note of popcorn in the hot liquid. Or mackerel, energised by its thorough charring, daikon braised in kombu dashi, ginger and, er, champagne. There’s always a welcome little jolt of surprise.
I admit to disappointment that the “tamarind Challans duck” for two doesn’t come as the whole, lacquered bird of my imagination, but it’s a belter: the thinly sliced, rare breast in a sauce so floral and heady and sticky (there’s hibiscus in there, too), it’s like gambolling in a tropical greenhouse. Its legs are served separately: confit-ed and shredded on a thick puddle of pureed Roscoff onion – one of the meal’s few genuinely sweet notes. (The kitchen seems to avoid sugar, and the odd dish teeters over into mouth-puckering acerbity.)
There’s a real feel for seasonal produce: the weeny but hugely flavoured Mara des Bois strawberries that dot an elderberry sorbet; the stalks of perfectly pink chard flanking some superb venison loin; the almost outrageously bosky beetroot that Culhane salt-bakes and scatters with hazelnuts. Off-notes are rare: a tiny pie of venison haunch that comes with the loin winks lasciviously, but is dry and dull; and slightly puddingy Japanese rice mars an otherwise excellent dish of braised lamb with tiny bonbons of fried, crumbed sweetbreads. But with “pommes de terre à la Landaise” (more like pommes Anna, if you ask me: a fondant fancy of the butteriest, crispest, finely sliced potatoes), all is forgiven.
Despite the loveliness of our French and Irish servers, and a High-Tory but ungreedy wine list, the atmosphere is a tad constipated. They have enraged locals who have mistaken the place for a pub by refusing to let them wander in for a pint. Plus there are dark mutterings that the owner – who seems a bit of A One – has “thrown out” the WI and implemented a zero-tolerance policy towards unruly children. I’m not sure this doesn’t make me like it more.
I understand that management might not want to sully the beauty of their garden with signs announcing, “This is not a boozer, it’s not even a gastropub, it is a posho restaurant” – they have tried to do it subtly by changing the Dysart Arms to the Dysart – but the message is taking a while to filter through. So I’m doing it for them. And a bloody good posho restaurant it is, too.
Marina O’Loughlin – The Guardian
“it is great to find a place quietly turning out lovely food. Dysart is a hidden gem to which I will most certainly be returning regularly.”
Tatler Restaurant Guide 2014
“in search of the best” – across London and the UK
The Dysart Petersham – one of 46 from the “Best of Britain” category, from Skye to Kent and Cornwall.