The Prettiest Sustainable Supper at Petrichor London’s Best Kept Secret Restaurant
I have lost count of the number of occasions when I have rushed passed The Cavendish’s entrance on Jermyn Street on my way to a meeting and yearned to cancel everything, seduced by the enticing prospect of a carefully sourced sustainable feast of slow ingredients from hand dived scallops from Scotland’s west coast to free range pork from Devon.
Why did I wait so long?
There are times when I am happy to eat rustic food, so long as it is very good rustic food in a pub or café. But I do loathe the idea that organic and local food can’t be uptown, inventive and sophisticated. This is just nonsense. If I’m going out for a special supper, I want it all – provenance, taste, theatre on the plate and good, unobtrusive service.
Nitan Padwal, the head chef at Petrichor certainly seems to give a great deal of thought and time to sourcing seasonal British ingredients. The menu states that the restaurant is ‘committed to sustainability and targets 100% sustainable sourcing of ingredients with a commitment to support local British farms and producers’.
The wine list has been chosen with great care, with many gems chosen for low food miles or artisan production. After consulting the very friendly sommelier, I choose a glass of Chapel Down Brut rose, which has delicious notes of strawberries and cream with a hint of perfumed, delicate elderflowers.
With a cosy table looking out over the elegant gentleman’s emporia of Jermyn Street, I marvel at my first course of – Alder smoked mackerel, which comes with a citrus cream, confit of beetroot, fennel meringue and edible flowers.
The food on my plate resembles a beautifully tended garden arranged by the faerie Queen herself; it looks exquisite and I am loath to spoil such artistry, such attention to detail. The mackerel tastes extraordinary good. I haven’t tasted mackerel this good since I queued for Steve Hatt’s home smoked mackerel on the Essex Road in Islington. The richness is perfectly balanced by pleasant, zingy hits of citrus, cooling fennel, tart, earthy beetroot and the curious but delightful edition of baby meringue.
My main course of Suffolk Chicken Roulade is equally pleasing. The chicken comes in melt in the mouth, herb infused, bite size slices of bliss. This is comfort food I could graze on forever. The gravy is transformed into something rather special by the edition of luxurious truffle oil. While the braised baby gem provides sweetness, contrast and crunch.
Pudding is pure fun. I simply can’t resist a palate cleansing sorbet with the surprise edition of basil and popping candy. This classical dessert is well executed and I rather like the strange effect of the candy continuing to pop and fizz on my tongue long after I have savoured the last, heavenly mouthful of sorbet and delicate biscuit.
Petrichor is open to residents and non-residents for lunch and dinner. I will be back. What a great discovery! This is a perfect place for a romantic dinner where the great British ingredients are the stars rather than a superstar chef, a great deal of hype and a sky-high bill to match. Though Nitan Padwal is a sustainable comet in my eyes. What a marvellous discovery.
Petrichor at the Cavendish – 81, Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6JF www.thecavendishlondon.com
Price for a meal for two with wine ££ Non Residents are very welcome at the Petrichor. To book a table – Tel 0207 930 2111