Bingham Riverhouse Restaurant

Posted on Wednesday, 7th August 2019

Bingham Riverhouse Hotel, Restaurant & Bar is located in leafy Richmond. We came to sample their refreshed menu on one of the hottest days of the year. To avoid the direct sunshine on the otherwise charmingly chic terrace, we sat in the airy room indoors: all starched table linen, big mirrors, bold abstract art and polite staff. Elegant, grown up, with subtle touches of playfulness, like the retro travel guides in the corridor by the loos. Any minute a 21st century version of Poirot might walk in and clandestinely perch himself by your side, ordering a cocktail or two – which are lovely, by the way.

The food is every bit the 21st century though: French techniques with global flavours and Scandinavian aesthetics. Modern British basically. You can have a set menu of 2 or 3 courses, or a tasting longer menu. We opted for the former. All food served in really lovely ceramic plates of natural colours; so tactile to the touch that we kept stroking the plates like they were cats on our laps!

But to the food. We started with a plate of ‘torched’ mackerel – very fresh and toothsome – served on a bed of spring onion mayonnaise and a pepper and fennel ‘escabeche’. We weren’t certain why the salad was called like this, since the fish hadn’t been marinated or cooked in the sauce, as the traditional recipe normally calls for, but we didn’t really care, because the dish was light and lovely and went down a treat with a glass of chilled Italian Viognier (the wine list has been put together with a thought for less common names, and a lot of love for the Gallic neighbours).

Bingham - Mackerel

Bingham – Mackerel

The second starter was the ‘raw beef’, essentially a beef tartar with the fun and an unusual addition of slightly burnt, puffed rice. A fun dish with a great texture, but we would have preferred more acidity from the tomato relish, which was mixed into the tartar.

London food blog - Bingham - Beef tartare

Bingham – Beef Tartare

The final starter plate was of a salmon with pickled cucumber. The combo tasted fresh and Japanese-y and had one of the best things we’ve tried that night, a fried oyster. This was accompanied with an oyster mayonnaise.

The mains were beautifully presented and well portioned, but a little less successful overall. The dish of seabream with jersey royals and summery vegetables had all the elements well cooked, but the base of the Romanesco sauce (roasted peppers with ground almonds) was too overpowering for the delicate fish. We would have preferred just to have the buttermilk sauce which was also on the plate.

Bingham - Seabream

London Food Blog – Bingham – Seabream

The other main was a lamb loin (for a supplement of £6.00) with sweetbreads and ‘black olive caramel’. The meat cooked medium, the beans nice and firm, but the offal too dry and so seemed disappointingly irrelevant on the plate. The lovely mash potatoes had a swirl of, what we thought, feta cheese, but the menu said it was goat’s curd – whichever it was, we felt that, again, one flavour too many.

Bingham - Lamb

London Food Blog – Bingham – Lamb

And then came the desserts: picture perfect and with just the right number of elements, what a treat! The gooseberry tart with vanilla ice-cream – such a wonderful English, summery pud. The pastry was very short and the cream understatedly sweet, but the gooseberries inside had been stewed to a mush, so the result was more like a posh jam tart. Very nice, just not quite what we’d expected.

Bingham - Desserts

London Food Blog – Bingham – Desserts

You know how they say that the best foods in the world are brown? Well, our banoffee cheesecake with salted caramel ice-cream and caramelised popcorn was all a play of brown hues and all the better for it. The cheesecake had this amazing, light and mousy texture, although overall the dish was more of a banana cheesecake than a banoffee one. More caramel please!

The service throughout was polite and attentive. Poirot would have approved.

Summary information:

1) The airy deco with a terrace overlooking the river.
2) Fish and meat carefully cooked.
3) That oyster mayonnaise.

1) The overly fried sweetbreads.

Food rating 3.75/5
Prices: two courses for £37 and three courses for £45 a head, excluding drinks and service

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