The Bingham Hotel Offers Fine Dining in a Scenic Setting
Nestled inconspicuously on a narrow road out of Richmond in southwest London, situated in a Georgian townhouse overlooking the River Thames, is The Bingham Hotel.
Boasting contemporary décor and a scenic backdrop in one of Greater London’s most affluent boroughs, the hotel is popular as a wedding venue for those wishing for a London setting with a touch of rural, leafy calm.
But perhaps the hotel’s crowning glory is its fine dining restaurant, helmed by renowned chef Shay Cooper and offering a modern British menu focussing on exceptional flavours and seasonal ingredients.
The dining room is stylish and ambient, with droplet chandeliers, mushroom hues, and bespoke artworks delivering an instant impact as you enter. Outside an attractive terrace overlooking the river offers al fresco dining for warmer times of year.
So nice is the setting that it could easily overshadow the food, but during our Friday evening visit we found that the kitchen was more than a match for its delightful surroundings. The chef offers several menus, with a la carte options for lunch and dinner alongside a Tasting menu, and it was the latter that we opted for, together with a recommended bottle of Argentinian Malbec that really hit the spot.
Proceedings began with a roast garlic risotto and it was a near-faultless opening, the rice providing a seductive bite and the garlic delivering the wonderfully pungent flavour you would expect from well-sourced ingredients
Next up was seared foie gras with sweet and sour turnips, fresh almond blackcurrent and hibiscus syrup. The foie gras was plump, soft and melted in the mouth with rich, buttery flavours whilst the turnips, blackcurrent and syrup acted as a wonderful contrast.
Next came Roast Orkney scallops with saffron potatoes, young squid, razor clam and aromatic seafood bisque. The scallops were juicy and nicely caramelised, whilst the accompaniments hit the spot with both flavour and texture.
Following on was Cornish brill fillet, consisting of shrimp and pork dumpling, roast pork and seaweed consommé. To get a consommé right requires a level of skill that separates the men from the boys, and on this occasion it was expertly done, offering lightness and clarity but with real depth of flavour.
To wrap up our mains we were served a rack of Casterbridge lamb with braised roscoff onion and glazed chicory. The lamb was exquisitely cooked - soft, pink and pleasantly spiced - whilst the onion and chicory packed the desired punch.
First up for dessert was a honeycomb rice pudding with poached williams pear, yoghurt sorbet and cinnamon custard. The pudding was thick, creamy and full of texture, and the pear, sorbet and custard managed to augment rather than distract.
Finally it was a lemon cheese cake with port jelly, candied walnuts, poached apple and celery sorbet. Lest Bingham stand accused of not keeping up with trends in food deconstruction, the cheese cake was a masterful attempt at reworking the elements of a savoury cheeseboard into a sweet dessert. The biscuit base was replaced by crumbled oat cakes and the lightly-set cheesecake was offset with the richness of walnut and port, rounded off on the palette with a refreshing but unexpected celery sorbet.
It was a fitting end to an exceptional meal that displayed impeccable, creative and well-presented cooking, all in a delightful setting. Whether it be for a wedding reception or an intimate meal for two, Bingham is a restaurant for all occasions.