The Dysart Arms
Restaurant in London
Contemporary British Cuisine
I have postcode envy. Last week I found a restaurant which is too far away from home to justifiably call my ‘local’.
Somewhere where the staff would know my name, the chef remember how I like my steak cooked (medium-rare in case anyone is offering to take me out!) and where without doubt I would spend most of my weekends, gossiping with girlfriends over wine or sharing a romantic meal with that someone special in front of the fire. For those of you within the TW10 area of London, my thoughts go out to you, because when you find this slice of dining heaven, all other meals are rendered incomparable.
A southerly stroll out of Richmond’s bustling high street of shops takes you along the beautiful river pathway and into the village of Petersham. Apart from being a main bus route to and from nearby Kingston and a rather large park, it seems a rather sleepy and mainly residential area. Yet those lucky few who live close by have one of most well-kept edible secrets on their doorsteps.
I have often passed the unassuming pub-like courtyard and naively presumed the traditional gastro-pub fare would be available; fish and chips, bangers and mash and highly stacked gourmet burgers. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for all of the aforementioned meals, but The Dysart Arms has gone for an altogether change of heart; in fact a change of décor, change of ownership, change of chef and change of guest no doubt. This is not a pub. This is not a gastro pub even. This is a family run restaurant and an excellent one at that. To use the term ‘fine dining’ would be a cop out, the dining is fine make no mistake, good enough to rival any award winning bistro in the Capital, but there are no white cloths on the tables here, no fine china, no stuffy service and definitely no exclusive guest list. The bare oak tables and plump cushioned chairs give a distinct country cottage feel and the enviable fireplace with logs newly supplied from Richmond Park and beautifully restored windows only add to the grandeur of such an historical building.
Led by Roux Scholarship winner of 2010 Kenneth Culhane, the menu is a breath-taking homage to locally sourced produce, prized farmers, and seasonally foraged ingredients. My visit consisted of a remarkable eight courses, with such an eye to detail that my companion and I could scarcely find new words to indicate our enjoyment of each new plate, we simply nodded at each other in blissful contentment. From the amuse bouche of parsnip soup with coconut and lime foam, to the hand dived Orkney scallops for starters, so fresh and sweet that the uneven count of five pieces nearly caused a domestic with my guest who insisted we share. Main courses saw perfectly seared Wiltshire beef, and a handsome portion of delicately cooked wild sea bass before we were introduced to the cheese board. Filled with more than a dozen varieties, all passionately introduced by our encyclopaedic server Enda, resisting the entire board was the hardest decision. Our pungent choices were served with sweet acorn blossom honeycomb, fragrant Muscat de Hambourg grapes and crisp homemade rye bread toast. An already perfect ending to our meal I hear you say? Quite possibly, if not for a sinfully delicious Valrhona Jivara chocolate and praline bar with miso salted caramel ice cream placed before us. Heaven.
Rolling out into the fresh air, I contemplate how quickly time has passed by. The classic sign of a terrific meal, when the food offered is not only delicious but a rare slice of entertainment, something to be shared, discussed and relished.
They say the best meals should start with hunger; I’m skipping breakfast and lunch before my next visit.
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Need to book||Yes|
|Clientele||Locals, visitors in the know|
|Restaurant good for||Couples, Romance, Meeting up with friends|
|Cost per head||Medium|
|Dress Code||Smart Casual, Casual|
|Dining Options||Lunch, Dinner|
Tasting Menus from £49.50 per person. 2 course set menu from £16.95, 3 courses from £19.95. À la carte starters from £7.50; mains from £16; puddings from £6.50. Wine by the glass from £4.50, half bottles from £28, full bottles from £18.
Last updated on 27-08-2015