The pain is finally over.... my exams are done. This has given us not only an excuse to celebrate and dine at fantastic restaurants, but I also now have some time on my hands to dedicate to the Paunch.
Since my birthday weekend I have been spoilt rotten by Mr B. And this weekend was no exception, when I was taken on a secret lunch at a secret location.
I have a love / hate relationship with surprises.. they excite me but equally infuriate me! Despite failing to guess where we were going, I was over the moon that the exclusive Petersham Nurseries was the target, where chef Skye Gyngell works the stove.
We didn't know quite what to expect on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Due to the grind of revision, I have spent most of my recent weekends in a woolly jumper and Jack Wills trackie Bs. So I was delighted to have the excuse to glam up somewhat for lunch... but someone should have warned me not to wear my fav snake skin heals... as we had to wade through slusshy wet, muddy gravel to get to the 'restaurant', which did in fact resemble a glorified green house!
But this was the charm and style of the place. The staff we equally as welcoming, trotting about in black skinny jeans and wellies. It had a lovely relaxed Boho atmosphere and the food certainly did not disappoint.
The menu was brief, with only 4 options for each course. Scottish girole mushrooms on toast and 3 epic, massive grilled sardines were both superb starters. Its not every day you pay £12 for a starter of sardines, but the portion was vast and they were truly scrum.
For mains, as predicted, Brown was true to form and had the slow roasted shoulder of pork, accompanied with endless veggies, beans, and a very herby salsa verde. Simple, tender and beautifully cooked. However I was pretty smug as the Monk fish stew was actually astonishingly good! Big, plump, meaty chunks of fish, sweet roast peppers, fennel and tomatoes, almonds, all infused with lashings of garlic, saffron, plus a naughty blob of aioli.. YUM!
As you can imagine our bellies were feeling pretty stretched at this stage, so we shared a delightful and refreshing clementine sorbet to finish.
A fantastic way to spend a wet Sunday afternoon. Delicious, honest feel-good food... if slightly on the pricey side. Great place to treat someone with earthy, stylish qualities, who doesn't wince at a speck of mud!