Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lunch at the Bingham

A warm, late-July Sunday, in London, and the chance for a leisurely wander  - followed by lunch, on the banks of the Thames.  What better spot to choose than ravishing Richmond.  After an hour's serene - but brisk - walk through the park, I arrived at the pretty gardens of the Bingham Hotel - right on the towpath.  The place was abuzz - with a lively wedding reception, enjoying their pre-meal drinks - as I made my way up to the cooly elegant silver and grey themed bar.

I relaxed, with a refreshingly chilled glass of water and the Sunday papers, before my companion arrived for our late lunch (tables can be booked until 4pm).  As we'd pre-requested, we were able to get a table on the narrow terrace - with lovely views onto the gardens and the Thames.

We made our choice from the set menu, at £38 for 3 courses, devised and prepared by Michelin-starred chef, Shay Cooper.  The gustatory delights commenced with slices of deliciously fresh, home-made seed bread accompanied by their own square marble slab - featuring a generous pat of butter.

I chose the organic salmon appetiser, marinated in orange juice and coriander, lightly cooked - so it was optimally moist, served with grated fresh ginger, raw courgette micro-cubes and fabulous shredded squid.  It tasted at least a good as the presentation promised.  The restrained portion size didn't ruin my appetite for the main course.

My companion opted for the intriguing cauliflower risotto with a lobster jelly crown, decorated with slender, fried cauliflower shavings.  Also pronounced as good as it looked.
For my main, I continued down the fishy path with lemon sole - succulent and as light as I had hoped. The highlight was the delicious razor clam - slivered - served with a miniature tomato-and-herb salad.

We concluded - on a sweet note - with perfect black coffee and rich petits fours - presented on a bed of crushed cocoa nibs. The truffles, on the far right, ultra-high in cocoa solids, encompassed a surprisingly herbaceous interior of fresh mint.
The experience was understatedly professional throughout. Recommended as a fabulous (mildly indulgent) treat!

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