Harden's survey result
“The setting is just ‘wow’ on a sunny day” – “a secret paradise among the plants and bushes in a greenhouse” – “but the food is such a disappointment” (“seemingly great ingredients but very mediocre cooking”) nowadays at this venue near Richmond Park that became famous under former chef Skye Gyngell a decade ago. It now has a smart offshoot in Covent Garden, but there’s “something missing” at the original – not to speak of “the inadequate facilities, which leave you queueing outdoors for the toilet... in January!”.
“It’s just fab eating great food in a greenhouse in summer or on a blue-sky winter’s day”, say fans of this “unique and magical” destination (part of a garden centre near Ham Common), which famously “oozes Bohemian charm” and is a top “romantic” trysting spot. Even those who feel its modern British cuisine is “very good” however, concede that it’s “probably not as good as it was a few years ago” (when Skye Gyngell was at the stoves, and pioneering the use of edible flowers) and more cynical souls ponder whether “seating you amongst the potted plants on rickety furniture lets them get away with the high prices and mediocre service”. It now has a sibling in Covent Garden (see also).
“It looks so magical”, and there’s “genuinely nowhere else like” this “secret-garden-style” venue near Richmond Park – a “truly enchanting” candle-lit greenhouse, within a garden centre – and the fact that “you can take a riverside stroll before or after your meal is heaven!”. “On a dull day however, the wobbly tables and chairs, untrained waiters, and ridiculous queues for the toilets make you feel that at these prices, you’re being ripped off”, especially as when it comes to the ambitious cuisine nowadays, while “the ingredients are interesting, their realisation is only fair”.
“Such a romantic venue” – “a lovely glasshouse” that’s “perfect for a summer day” – along with ambitious cuisine has earnt a huge reputation for this shabby-chic garden centre café, near Richmond Park. But while it has always been “massively overpriced” (“queuing for the loo with the garden centre customers, and paying £100 per head does not feel right”), since Skye Gyngell moved on “the food is nothing like it was”, and to critics it feels like “it’s totally lost the plot”: “laughable” to charge “elite central London prices” for “a garden shed” with “indifferent service and interspersed with a few silly antiques!”
|Wine per bottle||£27.00|
Church Lane (signposted 'St Peter's Church'), off Petersham Road, Richmond, TW10 7AB
|Number of Diners:|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑5 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑5 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑5 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑5 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑5 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm‑5 pm|