Blue Skye Thinking
Today was a good day. Amazing what a decent night's sleep can do, isn't it? The thumb is much improved - I appear to be growing an entirely new finger tip under the semi-lopped one - I got some work done, I racked up 6.5m on Geometry Wars (don't worry, it's a boy thing) and the sun was shining as we took a stroll along the Richmond river bank to go to lunch at Petersham Nurseries.
I last went here in the depths of winter with a travel writing friend from Australia who, in the process of taking a photo of my steak, managed to startle fellow diners Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan into thinking they'd been spotted: "quick, scarper, it's the paps..." They hurtled out at a rate of knots, we looked at each other sheepishly and tucked into a fine, if pricey lunch.
Today was the first time back and after an attempt at star spotting - we think she used to be on TV, er, that's about it - we nestled in for a run through the very fine set lunch. Three courses for £27.50 is hard to grumble with (even with the earth floor - no, really) when Skye Gyngell's cooking is on point. The seasonal drink - Prosecco with Winter Rhubarb was perhaps a little lumpy at nine quid but was both delicious and provided a lovely foreground for some arty farty shots...
Plus points? The bread - drizzled with oil and balsamic, toasted. A starter of bruschetta with lomo: more of the deep, almost nutty bread, the hit of the garlic, that charred smokiness, the sweetness of the tomato and the decadent fat of the lomo. Jesus. I could have eaten that all day. The pudding of pannacotta with blood orange caramel. OK, so the blood orange may stretch their "locally sourced" definition some but stuff it.
Best of all, while there are some "cheffy" dishes on the menu - ravioli of cavolo nero, haddock carpaccio - it's mostly the sort of hearty fare - oxtail, spinach & nutmeg soup, rabbit - that you come away inspired to have a stab at.
It was, by any standard, a fine lunch, filling without straining the belt. Which is just as well as I've come home to a message that tomorrow's chocolate judging is now looking like seven hours of eating. Nurse! Have a wheelchair on standby...