A cool dinner on a hot night
Trust us to choose one of the hottest July nights ever recorded here to review the Bingham Riverhouse! Well, despite it being desperately sultry to start, we really enjoyed our cool evening with delicious food and fab views of the river in Richmond. We sat on the balcony and enjoyed a cocktail (mine a Botanist – gin, orange vermouth infusion served in the old-fashioned style with stacks of ice as it was so sweltering)- and ice-cold beer, while perusing the menu and enjoying the views of the river and the boats drifting past.
The a la carte dinner offers good value (£37 for two courses or £45 for three) and we were spoilt for choice, despite it looking - at first glance - to be quite a short menu. It was a well-composed one, with something to suit all tastes. I chose a salad of beetroot, feta, avocado cream, wild rocket, quinoa, and caramelized walnuts while my husband opted for salmon with crispy oyster, oyster mayo, pickled cucumber. My salad was a perfectly balanced light melange of flavours and textures, and the caramelised walnuts were an unusual but great addition of a touch of sweetness. Now, my better half has always eschewed oysters, but he declared his dish to be ‘Theway to eat oysters – no slimy texture, just lovely flavours’, so gastronomic history was made in our household! We accompanied our dishes with wine by the glass from an excellent selection of some 20 options ranging in price from £7 a glass. My Picpoul rosé was a revelation; I will try to find some to buy locally.
For my main course I chose the lamb loin, with crispy sweetbread, black olive caramel, sugar snap peas, broad beans, baby plum tomatoes, goat’s curd mash. My husband had the sea bream, clams, romesco, jersey royals, spring onion, tomato, buttermilk sauce. My lamb was beautiful; not a massive portion of meat, but an adequate one, and cooked to perfection. The sweetbreads and other garnish complemented it perfectly, as did the green beans with preserved lemon that was suggested as an extra accompaniment. The sea bream was declared ‘delish’ and I didn’t manage to steal a taste of it before the plate was wiped clean with the last of the lovely home made bread we were served at the start of the meal.
To finish, I chose bitter chocolate, white balsamic strawberries, mint meringue, wild strawberry sorbet. It was really lovely, with the wild strawberries coming through beautifully. To be honest, I felt the chocolate element of this dish was an unnecessary addition (maybe the balance was too heavily in favour of chocolate?) but I suppose one needs a chocolate element in dessert menus. My husband had a gooseberry tart with vanilla ice cream that was hoovered up pretty quickly – too fast for me to have much of a taste. It was prettily presented and declared to be a very competent dessert (and he finished off my dessert as it was just too rich for me to finish!)
Bingham Riverhouse has had a radical makeover this year and its more relaxed vibe certainly seems to have hit the right note with the Richmond set. The place was very comfortably busy with a mix of family dinners and couples. The lovely serving team clearly enjoy working there. Head chef, Andrew Cole, has worked at The Bingham for a few years now, rising up through the ranks of the kitchen brigade. His loyalty has paid off; he has definitely put his mark on the stove at Bingham Riverhouse and his food is clearly appreciated by the locals.
Andrew Cole is doing a cookery demonstration at the Middlesex Food Festival in Sunbury next Sunday (August 4) – check out the website and do go along to meet the jewel in the Bingham’s crown.