A Magical Lunch at Petersham Nurseries

A magical lunch at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond | Miranda's Notebook

On Saturday, I surprised my Mum by taking her out to lunch at Petersham Nurseries for an early Christmas present. Although we’ve both been to the teahouse dozens of times (and always enjoy the light lunches and cakes on offer there), neither of us had ever been to the Petersham restaurant proper (or Cafe, as it’s called), and I thought it was high time we paid it a visit.

We started off with a glass of rose petal prosecco as soon as we sat down. I think this is how I’d always like to have my prosecco now – isn’t it just so pretty? The drink tasted amazing too, with a slight hint of rose flavour.

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As we sipped our drinks and reflected on the past year, as well as our imminent move, we kept exclaiming at our wonderful surroundings. Petersham Nurseries looked truly magical, with Christmas trees scattered throughout the Cafe and fairy lights and baubles twinkling all around us.

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We both felt so relaxed and happy: I had just finished work, so it was the perfect way to mark the start of the holidays. Our stomachs were rumbling, though, so we soon turned our attention to the food! The menu at Petersham Nurseries has an Italian influence and focuses on fresh, seasonal produce. It was hard to choose what I wanted, as there were so many tempting dishes. I always love fish, so was especially pleased there were so many seafood options on the menu. In the end, I settled on tortellini with pumpkin, chestnuts ricotta and sage to start, with Mum opting for steamed mussels and clams with pearl barley, garlic and creme fraiche.

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My tortellini was incredible: it was easy to tell the pasta was freshly made, and the combination of pumpkin and chestnut is a match made in heaven. I absolutely loved this dish, and Mum thoroughly enjoyed her mussels too, saying that the addition of barley was an inspired idea, as the pearls soaked up the broth making them extra tasty (I’m definitely going to try adding barley next time I make mussels).

Next, I chose a pair of red mullets with aioli and bitter autumn leaves, and Mum went for roast chicken with artichokes and pumpkin, buckwheat and sage polenta.

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Both these dishes were superb as well. I loved the red mullet, which was incredibly tasty, and paired beautifully with the bitter leaves.

As I’d made a late lunch booking, the light was fading by this point, which meant we could admire the Christmas decorations the more, in all their sparkly glory.

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I can’t say enough what a special place Petersham Nurseries was to have a Christmassy meal – Mum said we should make lunch here an annual tradition the weekend before Christmas, and I completely agree!

Our dessert arrived next: chocolate and caramel tart for me and warm panettone and ice-cream for Mum.

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The chocolate dessert was rich, but oh so wonderful. I can never resist the combination of chocolate and caramel! I sneaked a taste of panettone, and it was wonderful too.

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Finally, we set off to catch the bus back home, admiring the view of Petersham Nurseries lit up by fairy lights as we went (much as I love Christmas, I’m looking forward to when it isn’t pitch black by 4.30pm!).

I can’t wait to go back for lunch sometime again soon. During the week, a set menu is offered that sounds fabulous, and, although the restaurant isn’t open for supper, occasionally supper clubs are held, which sound wonderful too.

Have you ever eaten at Petersham Nursery? What did you think of it?

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