Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden

Petersham Nurseries have added to their posh garden centre cum café cum restaurant in Richmond with this big ol’ beauty in Covent Garden. It’s a whopper. There’s a deli, a lifestyle shop with a florist out the back and two restaurants: La Goccia and a more formal The Petersham.

The latter is a gorgeous space filled with plants, flowers, foliage, gigantic chandeliers and walls adorned with vast artwork from the owners’ personal collection no less. It all feels super wealthy but not at all stuffy.

La Goccia is a more vibrant affair. The space consists of multiple smaller dining rooms and an open kitchen and bar. As is the Petersham way you sit on garden furniture but here there’s music and a livelier atmosphere.

The menu is a sharing, small-plate kinda thing. The meat is the highlight for me; a Tamworth chop (£12.50) has fat and pork in equal amounts while wood-fired spatchcocked quail (£8.50) has blackened bits for added flavour. Lamb spiedino (£6), that’s skewered chunks of lamb, are soft and buttery.

Over in The Petersham, the dishes are designed to be devoured alone, not shared. I start with asparagus and soft boiled Haye Farm hen’s egg (£14.50) which is so gorgeous I don’t know whether to eat it or frame it. Sweet Portland crab (£16) is brought alive with shaved fennel and dill. It’s a dish made for sunshine and a glass of Petersham rose petal Prosecco out on their 30 cover terrace.

Casoncelli (£14) sees bright green pasta parcels filled with ricotta and the first of this season’s nettles sitting in a puddle of cheese sauce. Watch out Padella.

For main, Haye Farm loin of lamb (£29) comes with crisp sweetbreads which taste of pure lamb fat. They’re marvellous. Three huge segments of Spinosa artichokes, all soft and squidgy, are a real treat. It’s the addition of basil that’s the most exciting part as it works so brilliantly with the lamb.

Heading up the pastry section at The Petersham is Lucy Pearce, previous head chef at Raw Duck. She clearly knows what she’s doing as a fairly simple plate of Original Bean chocolate mousse, Zisola olive oil ice cream and honeycomb (£9) shall go down in history as the best pud I’ve ever eaten.

Petersham Nurseries is yet another addition to WC2 which makes you think differently of the area. It’s not just chains and tourist traps anymore. With exec chef Damian Clisby at the helm, this new opening is certainly the jewel in Covent Garden’s crown.

Would we go back? Yes
We dined at both La Goccia and The Petersham as their guests