Spring Restaurant - Somerset House
It says it all in the name 'Spring' - the interiors, the food, and the atmosphere are all spring-like, very appropriate for this time of year. Spring restaurant is situated in one corner of London's Somerset House, a magnificent building that provides a great space to house an amazing restaurant. The chef behind it all is Skye Gyngell, an Australian who was formerly head chef at Petersham nurseries.
Her vision when creating the restaurant was to create a feminine space, she wanted her restaurant to be different from many west end restaurants which are frequently dominated by male energy.
Skye's sister designed the interiors, as she felt that Briony understood her vision most clearly.
Skye's focus is on using fresh and seasonal ingredients, this was certainly reflected in the set menu that both my friend Lylie and I chose our dishes from. Skye sources all her ingredients from Fern Verrow farm in Hertfordshire - they harvest their crops based on the seasonal menu that Skye has written, so the food could not be fresher!
There was no doubt that the seasonal ingredients shone through in all three courses we tried…
To Start with I had the Puntarelle a la Romana. Putarelle, I discovered, is a cousin of Chicory which gave this dish an underlying bitterness contrasting nicely with a minty sauce. This was a light and refreshing starter with a nice crunch.
Lylie had the Salt Cod Croquettes with Camone Tomatoes, with the crispy breadcrumb coating perfectly complemented the soft cod and potato inside. The croquettes were accompanied by marinaded red spinach, which which was soft and flavorsome. Along with this came some delicious home made mayonnaise - I wanted to take a whole jar of it home with me!
For main course I had Onglet with Jerusalem artichoke puree, braised radicchio and black garlic butter. The textures in this dish were melt-in-your-mouth, the beef was tender and perfectly pink in the middle, and the artichoke puree was silky smooth. The raddiccio was nicely charred giving it a bitter edge, but this was balanced out by a sweet marinade giving it a complex flavour.
Lylie had the Roasted sea bream with pumpkin, curry leaves, and coconut sambal - another well put together dish! The sambal, which is an Indonesian sauce made from a variety of chilli peppers, brought the fish and pumpkin together nicely with a fiery kick.
To finish I had a Bakewell rhubarb and almond tart with a nice dollop of creme fraiche. The pastry was light and rhubarb not too tart. This was, in my eyes, the ideal way to finish off a pretty damn good lunch!
Lylie had the Citrus Shaker Tart with creme fraiche, I would recommend this pudding to those who do not have such a sweet tooth, as it had a zesty marmalade undertone complemented by amazingly light buttery pastry.
With not a crumb left on our plates, we went to sit in the Garden Room. As the name suggests, this space had an outdoorsy feel to it, with the walls being covered with giant gunnera leaves cast into tiles, and trees sitting in the middle of the room.
Overall we agreed it was a pretty spectacular lunch, in a pretty spectacular building - we will definitely be returning for some more seasonal food soon!
I liked the fact that every component of each course had clearly been thought through - so many restaurants make the meat the 'hero' and accompany them with substandard vegetables, so Spring's considered approach to all the produce they use was refreshing.
We also had a flick through Spring the cookbook which has a delicious selection of Skye's recipes, definitely one I will be trying some recipes from soon.