Today for the first time on my walk home from the station , I heard the sweet sound of bird song, the familiar yet forgotten reminder that the seasons are changing.
Whilst the ice cream man (perhaps a little prematurely) plays his nursery tune to the streets below, I feel now is as good a time as ever to share my experience of a restaurant that celebrates the joyful warmth of spring.
Adjacent to Somerset House along the River Thames, the aptly named Spring is a beautiful elegant restaurant with high ceilings and beautiful marble interiors that make for Instagram excellence. It’s not surprising that the face behind the pastel walls is a lady of class. After leaving Sydney, and then Paris, behind, Skye became head chef at the acclaimed Petersham Nurseries where her creativity and distinct seasonal cooking thrived.
Spring’s menu changes almost as often as the British weather, using the best of what’s in season. So as the clocks went forward and London became sunny again, I joined three of my fellow foodie bloggers for a long awaited lunch.
In a cosy window booth with warm rays shining upon us, Angie, Reena, Emma and I took a seat. Two glasses of Jacque Picard champagne and two refreshing rhubarb Bellini’s were cheered in unison, a blogger tradition.
One thing I’m always curious for is the awaited bread basket. Will it be hot? Will the butter be whipped? A foodie’s brain is a place filled with intrigue. No need for concern, for Spring’s offering is heavenly. Thick white slices and a brown lighter loaf stuffed with seeds were delicious smeared in salty butter. For once I wasn’t disappointed that they were cold. For its warm outside don’t you know!
Decision time came for our order. My bank balance argued against my lustful appetite. It was a long month and I’d overspent on my trips and Time Out deals allowance. I settled for the set lunch menu, which at around £30 is a bargain you can’t argue with. Limited choices? Perhaps. But guaranteed satisfaction? Oh certainly.
My starter was a garlic lover’s paradise. Described as roasted wet garlic with goat’s curd and bruschetta, I can see why you may instinctively turn up your nose. But with a little benefit of the doubt and no plans to see Allyn afterwards, I thought ‘to hell with it! Bring on the garlic!’ The ingredient in question was smooth and creamy, combined with the curd to make a flavour-packed paste against the bruschetta.
Next to me, Reena tucked in to a plate of buffalo mozzarella with rainbow chard, broad beans and lemon infused oil. A simple, yet never disappointing dish.
Angie received a tale to be told with her starter, the spring artichokes with carne salata and sheep’s milk ricotta. Unbeknown to us food enthusiasts, the carne salata was in fact an Italian tender meat, said to be famous for its loving farmers who regularly entertain their herd with a spot of acapella. I can’t advise on the genre but I hope its moo-town (sorry, not sorry).
Emma however received the prettiest of plates with her order of scallops atop cauliflower puree, beurre blanc and sprinkled with chives and edible flowers. I suspect the most pessimistic of eaters wouldn’t be able to resist this dish.
With the bar raised high from our faultless starters, we were even more excited for the main event. Angie’s choice of the roasted River Test trout with braised fennel, wild garlic and chilli sauce was a beautiful spring combination, served with an individual pot of seasoning.
Emma chose a warmer comforting dish of ricotta dumplings with garlic and ricotta salata, which she stated was a perfect bowl to help fight her cold!
I also selected a perhaps more winter felt option from the set lunch menu, rich pork and veal meatballs placed on sweet yellow polenta. It was hearty and perfectly filling, a gorgeous way to enjoy meatballs without the weight of pasta.
Reena’s monkfish and clams with roasted almonds, sprinkled in aioli and rosemary, was the envied dish at the table. A generous slice of sourdough toast soaked up her flavoursome sauce and she raved about the fish from the first bite.
Bloggers will always have room for more and so no hesitation was required when the dessert menus were presented. This time the set menu choices were perhaps the most popular with both Emma and I picking a hazelnut meringue with damson ice cream. It was everything a meringue should be, crisp on the outside and chewy within, a surprise pocket of chopped hazelnuts contained.
Angie also chose a lighter pudding, settling on two delightful pots of sorbet, blood orange and chocolate. Again, Reena picked well ordering the almond tart with gariguette strawberries and vanilla ice cream, said to be packed with rich nutty flavour.
It’s quite simple to see why Spring has been recognised as one of London’s top restaurants. The continuously changing menu takes seasonal produce and turns them into exquisite, beautiful plates that are impossible to refuse and it provides the perfect excuse to come back again and again. I’m already thinking of how I can return (perhaps on payday!).
I left entirely satisfied, not just by the exquisite food but also by the incredible service and stunning interiors. Spring had arrived and I was ready for more.