Ah, Italy. The land of crowd-pleasing aperitivo and delicious dishes that span everything from warming balls of arancini to crisp salads and fresh seafood. On London's Italian fine dining scene, you can find The Petersham Covent Garden, the sister of Petersham Nurseries' greenhouse restaurant and tearooms in Richmond. But, while the latter is inspired by its own kitchen garden, the city centre edition takes things up a notch. Dedicated to quality and provenance, it sources the majority of the menu's organic produce from the family farm in Devon, so I couldn't wait to give the food a try.
First impressions are something you certainly can't fault The Petersham on, as the luscious Floral Court revealed swathes of greenery and outdoor seating as we rounded the corner to the restaurant. But, this being heatwave territory, we (gratefully) slipped into the air conditioned interiors for our meal. Indoors was just as stunning, where larger group dining tables featuring cascading flowers made up the centre and smaller ones were found scattered about the space. Floor-to-ceiling windows looking out into the courtyard sat opposite walls peppered with contemporary art, while chandeliers hung low and sparkling throughout. This place has spring or summer dining destination written all over it.
To begin? Cocktails, of course. The bar whipped up the Cherry Blossom (£13) for my partner, a gorgeous concoction balancing Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and cherry sauce with elderflower cordial, lime juice and a punchy glug of Plantation 3* rum. My choice was London In Pink (£13). This gentle, frothy number was a refreshing drink that really reflected the restaurant, combining JJ Whitley gin, Earl Grey syrup, Peychaud bitters, lemon juice and egg white.
Our starters came next, where my choice was the delicate potato gnocchi (£22) alongside a summery mix of peas, lemon and ricotta salata - a delightfully light dish that was equal parts comforting and fresh. Although, I was a bit jealous of the other half's beef tartare (£16), which was packed with tender meat, oyster mushrooms, the softest quail egg and rich Cashel Blue cheese. Swoon.
Before our mains arrived, we nabbed some perfectly paired glasses of wine for our two very different dishes. My braised Haye Farm pork shoulder (£31) was washed down by Parusso Nebbiolo d'Alba Langhe DOC (£12), which matched the gravy-topped meal with its plummy, full-bodied flavour. I could truly feel the quality of the meat and cooking on this plate, as it pulled apart at the touch of a fork. To top it off? Moreish wild garlic mash and giardiniera to add a touch of crunch. Meanwhile, notes of vanilla and tropical fruits in Mazzei Vermentino Codive V (£14) complemented the flaky Cornish cod (£31). It came accompanied by mussels, peas and broad bean guazzetto, although we felt it was a little dry and lacking an extra something to really make it pop.
Finishing off our culinary experience was something for the sweet-toothed, which you can definitely count me a part of. I couldn't leave without a taste of the signature dessert: The Petersham baked raspberry cheesecake (£8.50). The ideal combo of biscuity base, creamy middle and fruity topping, this one is a success. Meanwhile, fronting a super glossy quality I've never seen before, the Original Beans chocolate with Zisola olive oil ice cream and honeycomb (£9.50) was our other pick. Its perfect sweet-savoury balance and deep, dark chocolate flavour certainly made it one that goes down easily.
The DesignMyNight Digest
The Petersham Covent Garden isn't just your bog-standard Italian. With a focus on quality ingredients across seasonal menus, this oh-so-gorgeous plot is delving out stripped-back organic plates, cocktails and wine in a stunning space. While the subtlety of some flavours here may not be to everyone's taste, the dining experience feels special and unique.
💰 The damage: £170 for three courses and two drinks each, plus service charge.
📍 The location: Tucked away at 2 Floral Court, WC2E 8JD.
👌 Perfect for: Delicate, refined flavours and quality produce.
⭐ Need to know: The Petersham's private dining and exclusive hire experiences are second-to-none.