The Bingham, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6UT - restaurant review

The newest addition to the area's Michelin star offerings, the Bingham hotel in Richmond is home to a restaurant that took centre stage when the latest edition of the renowned guide was released earlier this year. JOHN HUGHES pays a visit

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine July 2010

Restaurant reviewed: Bingham Restaurant61-63 Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6UTTel: 0208 940 0902

The newest addition to the area’s Michelin star offerings, the Bingham hotel in Richmond is home to a restaurant that took centre stage when the latest edition of the renowned guide was released earlier this year. JOHN HUGHES pays a visit

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Verdict

Food and drink 10 Service 6Venue 9

What we ate

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Three courses at �39 per person

StartersRoast Quail Organic Salmon x2

Main CoursesPoached Lemon SoleGressingham Duck BreastSquab Pigeon

DessertsSelection of British and French CheesesAmedei Chocolate TartRhubarb Vacherin

DrinksTabla Rioja Crianza, Bodegas 2005  �32

REVIEW: Sitting inconspicuously on a narrow and busy road out of Richmond, the Bingham has been receiving rave reviews far and wide. As you drive past, it’s barely noticeable, but one step inside and things are very different; you enter a world of opulence and sophistication where only one thing matters – dining in style. I was there to see for myself why the Bingham restaurant has been awarded a Michelin star for the first time this year.

Both the bar and dining room are chic and tasteful with lots of mirrors opening up the relatively small spaces and windows looking down towards the River Thames below. The welcome was warm and inviting, without a hint of the aloofness that sometimes comes as part of a Michelin star experience. Once seated, we chose the � la carte as opposed to the tasting menu and perused the half a dozen starters and mains – ‘we’ being myself, my daughter Helen and my great friend Dotty, who knows a thing or two about fine dining.

I chose a starter of roast quail served with leek, potato and artichoke salad, potato terrine and hollandaise. My, oh my, it was good! – a blend of flavours that transcended the fairly modest ingredients, with beautiful presentation to match. Helen and Dotty’s reaction was similar; they were both wowed by their organic salmon with braised octopus, Jerusalem artichoke pur�e and deep fried baby squid.

We all chose different main courses. For me, poached lemon sole with black olive pur�e, seaweed crushed Jersey royals and brown shrimp and tomato dressing; for Helen, Gressingham duck breast with pan fried polenta, cep and golden raisin relish, and warm duck and cauliflower ragout; and for Dotty, squab pigeon served with blood orange, glazed turnip, chestnut and thyme risotto in a red wine sauce. All were quite, in every respect, superb – flavours and textures combined masterfully and presented with flair and imagination; creations of executive chef Shay Cooper.

The desserts were equally stunning. As soon as I saw the menu, I knew what Helen would have – Amedei chocolate tart served with orange Chantilly, passion fruit sorbet and coca tuille. Dotty tried some and I was confronted with two faces reflecting unadulterated bliss; her own rhubarb vacherin with vanilla panna cotta, mandarin jelly, and rhubarb and ginger consomm� clearly gave equal pleasure. 

Sweet enoughBeing sweet enough, I investigated the Bingham’s selection of British and French cheeses. For my sins, I didn’t make a note of what I tried – there were so many. Needless to say, they were excellent, although I was confused a bit by one that was described to me as a Shropshire cheese from Nottingham – or had the red wine got to me by then?

Talking of which, Dotty and I shared a bottle of Tabla Rioja Crianza 2005 – rich and full-bodied and chosen to complement the array of dishes that had come our way. Not cheap, but nevertheless at the lower end of an extensive and fascinating wine list.

So far, a glowing review. However, it has to be said that the quality of service sadly didn’t match that of the food, wine, presentation and ambience. It was professional, but slow – from the initial drinks order (poor Helen had finished her starter before her Pimm’s arrived) to trying to pay the bill. Dotty summed it up with characteristic understatement: “Could have been snappier.”

A pity, really, as in all other respects, this was verging on an almost flawless dining experience.

3 other great restaurants in Surrey hotels

The Latymer at Pennyhill Park Hotel London Road, Bagshot GU19 5EU Tel: 01276 471774Ever since chef Michael Wignall made The Latymer his home, the restaurant hasn’t looked back, picking up a number of awards including a much-coveted Michelin star.

The Oak Room at Great FostersStroude Road, Egham TW20 9URTel: 01784 433822Converted into a beautiful and elegant restaurant infused with character, the team in the kitchens hold the ambition to be awarded a third rosette. 

The Lock at Runnymede Hotel Windsor Road, Egham TW20 0AGTel: 01784 220 960Newly opened beside its old namesake, the Bell Weir Lock on the River Thames, the new Lock restaurant claims to offer riverside dining at its finest.

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