Lunch at the Glasshouse in Kew

Yesterday’s lunch at Kew’s Glasshouse restaurant was everything a fine dining experience should be.

One of the problems I have in assessing restaurants is that most of the time I’m not paying, and my primary purpose is to be there in order to taste wines. You can still get a good feel for the restaurant, but it’s easier to do this when you are a paying customer, there to have a nice meal with your significant other. And this is the capacity I was visiting in yesterday.

Lunch is a set three courses for £26, which at this level of cooking represents brilliant value – it also makes good business sense because you don’t get people coming in, ordering just a starter, drinking mineral water and occupying a table for 2 hours.

The wine list is really impressive. There’s lots of choice, mark-ups are more than fair, and clearly a lot of thought has gone into compiling it. I can imagine that some guests might be a bit alarmed at the lack of the obvious names, but this is why there’s a sommelier.

And Susan Cheng, the sommelier here, really impresses. We ordered by the glass from the really interesting and non-obvious by-the-glass list, and she dealt with questions really well. So, to share, we had Lagar de Cevera Albarino, Biffar Rupertsberger Nussbein Riesling Kabinett Trocken, Hoffstatter Lagrein and Gottweiter Gruner Veltliner. She also gave us a glass of a Coteaux du Languedoc white to try (I can’t recall the name), which was really nice.

The food? Just brilliant. My starter (top picture, pls excuse the dodgy phone camera quality) was smoked eel with marinated beetroot, horseradish and potato pancakes, and was perfectly judged. Fiona opted for seabass sashimi with wasabi mayonaisse, shrimp beignet and guacamole, which was full of interesting flavours and textures.

It was a bright spring afternoon, so it’s nice to have food matching the season. I followed up with a very fresh tagliatelle with forest mushrooms, asparagus and a poached egg (above). It was really good, but Fiona’s choice –  roast pollock with wild garlic veloute, gnocchi, asparagus and morels was close to perfection (below).

The only glitch? The fellow diners. Next to us was one of those large, loud-talking tables, one of whom took a couple of lengthy phone calls without stepping outside. Not much you can do about that.

7 comments to Lunch at the Glasshouse in Kew

  • Just booked a table at Glasshouse for my Dad’s 60th. I’ve heard good things already but my mouth is now watering after your review!

  • GREG SHERWOOD MW

    As you say Jamie, great to go to these excellent restaurants for bespoke tastings etc, but the great food is always a bit secondary / obscured unless you are actually paying for it yourself and it’s not just another free wine trade promo lunch (don’t worry, I am not complaining about them!)

    But happily, living in St Margarets, Richmond, The Glasshouse along with our local and much loved Brula Bistro, is my closest and favourite local gourmet destination. No long stressful cab / tube journeys home after lunch / dinner here!!

    As part of the stupendous Nigel Platts Martin group of restaurants, it is amazing how they manage to delivery quality and value for money again and again. Excitingly, I have the lovely Faiveley Grand Cru Lunch to look forward to at the Square on Monday! But i liked your photos! Got me salavating for sure!

  • keith prothero

    Indeed–also my local restaurant. Wonder if any SA Top 100 will appear on the wine list——just joking:)

  • Alex Lake

    Nice one, Keith…

    Maybe they should do a Top 100 Natural wines?

  • Alex Lake

    Bu***r, just realised that someone might take that idea seriously!

  • Angela Lloyd

    What a refreshingly interesting and non-mainstream wine list. Never heard of the Selosse BdeB bubbly involving a solera founded in 1987; how does that work, Jamie? Will have to make sure a visit to Kew is on my next UK itinerary.

  • DAVID BUTT

    This a great restaurant.We have been going here since it opened years ago and if anything it gets better.
    Fair price for excellent food preparedd with care and lots of flair even with a chnge of chef throughout out visits.
    We now know them pretty well and look forward to going there as do my partners children ( now fine young women ans they have become flag waivers as well for the specila occassions in their lives.

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