Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Bingham - restaurant review

As I've been working so hard at Uni (trust me, my brain aches), Marc took me to The Bingham, in Richmond, for lunch.  Sooo much better than a gold star!

The Bingham is a boutique hotel, in a Georgian townhouse, overlooking the river.  It's also home to Shay Cooper's restaurant.  Sadly, the restaurant has lost it's Michelin star in the 2012 guide.  All I can say is the inspector must've visited on a bad day, as the meal and service we had were absolutely top notch.

Like many other fine-dining establishments, The Bingham offers a very good value lunch menu.  This is also available on a Saturday, which is extremely accommodating!  The set menu is £22.50 for two courses or £26.00 for three.  Remarkably, there is no surcharge for cheese - and a mighty fine cheese selection it is too.

The dining room itself is bedecked in gold hues; luxurious but modern.  The full length windows offer views over the river.  Perfect on a sunny day, when you can watch boats passing by.

Cute lightbulb vase

We started with an absolutely delicious amuse bouche: rich, earthy cep mousse beautifully complemented by a cauliflower truffle foam.  I could've eaten buckets of it.  Truly delicious.

The freshly baked bread selection was almost too tempting.  I really wanted to ask for one of each (potato and rosemary, foccacia, seed and white baguette).  I settled on the potato and rosemary.  With lashings of salted butter.
Amuse bouche
The menu is a cacophony of seasonal goodies and the starter was a perfect example: truffle spatzle (a sort of German pasta), with mushroom puree, girolles, confit egg yolk and shaved chestnuts.  This was exceptional.  In fact the lady on the table next to us actually came over when she saw it arrive on our table to tell us it was the best starter she'd ever had.  It really was that good; beautifully cooked and with the flavours and textures in perfect harmony.
Truffle spatzle
My main was sea bream fillet, with glazed chicory, sauteed squid and bitter orange vinaigrette.  This was  picture perfect and I particularly liked the effect shredded squid.
Sea bream with glazed chicory
Marc's poussin was served with honey glazed root vegetables, crisp bacon and smoked pearl barley.  The poussin had been de-boned and Marc said he enjoyed it all the more for being 'unfiddly'.
Poussin with honey glazed root vegetables
The cheese selection is impressive, all the more so for being included on the set lunch menu.  Our waitress was happy to explain what each of the cheeses was (and put up with our indecisiveness in choosing!).
The cheese selection
The chocolate tart was the best I've had.  Served warm with a chocolate biscuit crust and a filling like a chocolate fondant.  It was rich, satisfying and did exactly what a chocolate pud should.
Bitter chocolate tart

Raisin bread, crackers and fig chutney
This was our final cheese selection.  Unfortunately I didn't note down what they were (could've been the wine!) but we both agreed we'd chosen well!
Our cheese selection
A fancy meal is never complete without a plate of petits fours and The Bingham didn't disappoint.
Petits fours
And, the piece de resistance: a cocktail enjoyed on the terrace in the afternoon sun.  Perfect end to an extremely good lunch.  Star or no star, I'd highly recommend the restaurant at The Bingham.
Rose fantasia

Bingham on Urbanspoon

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