An Al Fresco Affair at La Goccia, Petersham Nurseries, Covent Garden

There are no dearth of draws to visiting Richmond-based Petersham Nurseries’ outpost in Covent Garden.

With its ethereal sense of glamour and fairytale florals, it’s the sort of place you might pop into to handpick a bouquet of flowers for your next dinner party, inevitably to find yourself ensconced there over an hour later, browsing the gorgeous selection of Venetian glassware.

Understandably, you might be a tad peckish by this point. Thank goodness then, that the capacious space (spread over 16,000 square feet) offers not one, but two new restaurants, along with a take-away-delicatessen next door…


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Of the two restaurants, The Petersham is elegantly-formal with interiors and contemporary artworks inspired by the founding family – The Boglione’s – own home in Richmond. La Goccia is distinctly more relaxed. Constellating around an open kitchen, wood-fired oven, grill and bar – it effortlessly revives the art of the aperitivo, ballasted by Italian-style cicchetti (small plates).

Both restaurants are a paean to seasonal produce, sourced from Haye Farm (an organic outfit run by one of the Boglione children, Harry). They also share a common courtyard, Floral Court. Undoubtedly set to be one London’s most sought-after spots for al fresco dining, this secret garden of sorts is a verdant picture of bliss on a sunny afternoon…

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Drawn to La Goccia on this visit, we’re rewarded with unfussy and unfettered small plates which whilst lacking a memorable punch, do let the fresh and sprightly quality of the ingredients shine through.

Little broad beans are paired with a creamily-mild pecorino cheese; while plump stems of white and green asparagus are daintily dressed with olive oil and a squeeze of Sicilian lemon.

There’s also a selection of pizzetta (diminutive pizzas), braced by a crisp base from their time in the wood-fired oven; and padella (hand-made pasta). Luxuriating in a pool of sage butter, the ravioli is a highlight, melting to reveal a zesty ricotta and lemon filling.

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Put simply, our lunch is good if not as transporting as our lush surrounds. Nonetheless, the pared-back plates lend themselves to a light and leisurely afternoon (or evening!) topped off – in true Italian fashion – by an aperitivo.

As you’d expect, the cocktails are a nod to nature too but with a looming deadline on the horizon, are foregone for a “Nogroni” – a surprisingly strong twist on the classic aperitif made with homemade Vermouth and Seedlip’s (tee)totally terrific booze-free spirit!

Sated and rested, we saunter off a good while later, mentally bookmarking La Goccia’s terrace as an ideal spot to steal some sunshine on our next free afternoon.


La Goccia, Petersham Nurseries, Floral Court, London, WC2E 9FB

Website: https://petershamnurseries.com/dine 


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Author: The Foodie Diaries

A food travel & lifestyle journal, chronicling my culinary and other adventures around town.

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