Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A nice cup of tea @ Petersham Nurseries

Petersham Nurseries sits nestled in a quiet, leafy conservation area, a stones throw from the Thames.  It’s a most wonderful place; and houses a garden nursery, Michelin starred restaurant and a teahouse, all on the one plot.

Foodies, gardeners and lovers of vintage and shabby chic will all love it here. Old style carts and wagons support trays of herbs and bedding plants. Strategically placed pieces of antique or garden furniture sit amongst flowers and foliage. It’s picturesque, calming, and a great place to gently while away a morning or afternoon.

It may have started out as a simple plant nursery serving food, but these days, its main proposition is the food offering. The shabby chic look and feel may appear effortless, but is surely the result of a considerable amount of time and thought.  Much of the Teahouse seating space is either outdoors or in old greenhouses, if it’s raining, puddles will appear between the mismatching old tables; simply decorated with a plain vase and blooming flowers.  Nothing matches, it’s all rather eclectic, but wonderfully so.  The food offering is simple, seasonal and delicious, which probably explains it’s popularity, come rain or shine. West Londoners love this place (this one is no exception.) It’s simplicity and ubiquitous greenness makes you feel that you could be deep in the countryside, and for oxygen starved Londoners that’s rather a nice feeling.  One gets a sense of escapism visiting here.  Even on a rainy day, sitting having a pot of tea (properly made with leaves) in an old greenhouse at Petersham, is a memorable experience.  

Making the most of Little Pip sleeping peacefully in his buggy, Big Daddy and I decided to detour from our weekend Thameside walk to the Teahouse for a delicious slice of apple and almond cake and a good sized pot of tea.  What a piece of cake it was too, a pastry base filled with slightly tart pieces of apple, plump sweet sultanas and a crumbly almond top. We washed it down with steaming cups of tea and talked peacefully, whilst Little Pip remained asleep,  (a true rarity as he can usually sniff out a piece of cake at 50 paces.)   We basked in a few precious moments of calm and serenity. An uninterrupted conversation, where sentences were finished.  A simple pleasure, but it felt so good.

On leaving, we perused the shop with it’s tastefully put together collection of garden tools, homewares, antique and garden furniture and huge array of Ilse Jacbosen wellies.  (Oh how easily my feet slipped into those black lace up size 7’s!) I employed restraint and left them there, wondering how many pairs of wellies does a woman really need? Is 3 too many for a Londoner?

As little Pip stirred awake, we headed across the road to the Petersham entrance of Richmond Park and the playground there.  The sky was blue and the sun was starting to shine.  What a wonderful backdrop for a playground. Who says London has no green space?

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