One of the joys of living in London is the mighty Thames snaking its way through our midst. In central London it’s bound by high embankment walls, and although picturesque, it always feels just a little too turbulent and dangerous to mess with. Go a bit further upstream however, and grassy banks run down to the peaceful, tree strewn margins that Richmond’s Bingham Hotel looks out on to.
Andrew Cole billed his Supper Club as a small plates tasting menu, which to me just makes it a tasting menu, but hopefully with a decent number of people to fill the tables. After a couple of house speciality cocktails, we had 8 plates of amuse-bouche to bowl-food sized portions, so quite comfortable over the course of the evening.
With such compact portions you can turn up the flavour a notch or two, and I’m looking forward to concentrated hits of beautifully presented and expertly Andrew Cole’s Supper Club The Bingham, Richmond By David Hughes selected ingredients. It’s a bit tedious going into tiny detail 8 times over, so I’m going to crack on, but if you can enjoy the majority as I did, then it’s ‘mission accomplished’ for the kitchen.
First up was Cauliflower & Cheese which was universally praised at the table, and got us off to a good start. Next, the versatile scallop that has in recent times been paired with everything from Spanish Chorizo to burnt cauliflower. Tonight it’s sitting on a celeriac purée, surrounded by delicate chunks of apple and coated with black Perigord truffle. One of our number thought the truffle a little too prominent, but I didn’t agree. It was delicious, and things have to be pretty bad for there to be too much fresh truffle!
After a quick top up on the wine, the next plate arrives bearing a quenelle of Catalonian Romesco, a disc of cod, butter milk sauce and a slither of baby gem lettuce. We are here to be entertained as much as fed, but a coin of cod seemed just a bit too arty. Browning the top had also dried it a touch, but the flavours were good. My companions were in two minds about the naming of the next course, Cep & Trumpet Risotto. We all loved the bite of the rice, and it was a nice enough thing, but the usually prominent flavours of Cep and Trumpet were elusive.
As if to answer this criticism, out came an indisputably excellent portion of beef rump, shredded Oxtail wrapped in cabbage and confit of oyster mushroom. Good enough to tempt even an ardent vegetarian, every plate was completely cleared. Time for cheese, but with a bit of a spin, melted vintage cheddar with a cube of caramelised apple. Dish number 7 is a palate cleansing Granny Smith apple & Spiced Honey Granita, paired with a Monbazillac pudding wine. None of us have tried a spiced honey granita before, but it gets a universal thumbs up. To finish our evening we have a Frozen Yogurt with Rhubarb & Graham Cracker, a symphony of bubble gum pinks and cracker crumbs that somehow everyone finds room for.
Go for: an entertaining night out where your conversation will often be drawn back to the food and wine. Recommended.
Back off: if you are looking for rustic plates and hearty portions
The Bingham is a 15 room boutique hotel situated on a beautiful stretch of the Thames with a terrace and rolling lawns. Bookings on 020 8940 0902