Sunday, May 22, 2011

A day in Richmond- Petersham Nurseries

Where: Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Richmond, TW10 7AG
When: A gorgeously sunny day in mid-May
What: A nursery, a home store, a garden shop, a tea cafe, and a michelin starred restaurant all in a ramshackle chic garden shed environment with both indoor and alfresco dining options

Who: Myself and a friend took the ten minute stroll along the river to Petersham Nurseries from Richmond. My sister had told me about this gorgeous hidden treasure in Richmond and so I wanted to go and see what all the fuss was about. The sun was shining so it was the perfect day to find out. I must admit, as well as the glorious sun, the stroll along the river also added to the Petersham Nurseries experience
Food: We ate alfresco style under the vines of the tea room cafe. The offerings on the menu were yummy salads and an array of sweet treats. Given that we arrived towards the end of lunch time many of the fresh daily options were finished but that was absolutely helped us to make the choice easier. We both settled for the lentil salad and it was absolutely delicious. Knowing of our plans to go for a big walk through Richmond Park following lunch, we also indulged in an energy boosting carrot and coconut cake- Yum.

Drinks: Despite wanting wine, we ordered old fashioned lemonade as we didn't want to get dehydrated in our walk through Richmond Park. Next time I visit I will be indulging in plenty of wine and I will definitely plan to settle in for a long lunch at the restaurant
Price: 13 pounds each
Service: In the tea rooms, you order over the counter. Our meal arrived within a matter of minutes of sitting down. The staff seemed friendly
Clientele: Most people were over 40 and dressed in smart casual but I guess that the clientele would be slightly different on weekends. It would be a great place for a guy to take a girl on a weekend date or for a bunch of girls to go for a long lunch in the sun. Without doubt, you wouldn’t fail to disappoint your sister or Mum if you took either of them there
Ambiance: Glasses clunking, people chattering, shrubs growing. A definite green fingers/shabby chic ambiance. Take some cash because the store has an interesting array of things to buy

Saw: Colourful flowers in the nursery that made me wish I had a garden
Bathrooms: Clean and cosy
Would I go again? Yes...plans are already in place for a bike ride down to Richmond next weekend to experience this delicious place all over again
Also of note: After lunch we strolled up to Richmond Park and walked through the park for hours taking in some woody groves, duck-filled ponds, wild deer spotting and a few good hours of strolling allowing the sun to kiss our wintered skin

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Barrafina- Soho

Where: Barrafina, 54 Frith St Soho

When: Pre-theatre on a Thursday night before heading out to Priscilla Queen of the Desert
What: Delicious Spanish style tapas. I wouldn’t be exaggerating by saying these are probably the best tapas I have ever eaten...even better than in Spain. People dine around a marble counter and are served simple plates of tasty delights. I was so engrossed in the atmosphere that Barrafina provided, that the world around me could have completely stopped and I wouldn't have cared
Who: Myself and a dear friend who is a self-confessed Priscilla fan...This was to be her fifth time at the musical
Food: Pimientos de Padron (Apparently one in every 20 of these has enough heat in it to make you breathe fire)

Chorizo with Potatoes: Creamy potatoes coupled with a decent portion of intense smoky chorizo

Ham and Cheese Croquettes - Just delicious

Chipirones (Baby fried squid)

Drinks: Hacienda Grimon 2008
Price: 25 pounds per person
Service: Exceptional friendly Spanish service across a marble countertop 
Clientele: Foodies
Ambiance: Bustling
Bathrooms: Didn’t go
Would I go again? Yes I would go again. It is fun - you feel like you could be in Spain. In my opinion, you couldn't get a more authentic and delicious Spanish tapas meal for this price 
Also of note: Each time you go, make sure you order different things. My observation was that everything other people were ordering also looked amazing. And be sure to get there early before the queue, there are only 20 or so seats as you can imagine they fill very fast