As soon as the sun starts to shine on Richmond, the hub of restaurants and bars by the banks of the Thames come to life. The steep slopes overlooking the river fill with locals and tourists alike, and foodies flock to the epicentre on the town-side of the river. But keep walking a few minutes further along and you’ll find a fantastic foodie heaven at the beautiful boutique Bingham Hotel.
Recently relaunched as a Restaurant with Rooms, head chef Andrew Cole has created a mouthwatering Market Lunch for diners in search of sumptuous dishes created from seasonal ingredients which won’t pile on the pounds. The health-conscious, holistic focus of the menu is reflective of the whole ethos of the hotel.
“Health-consciousness and a memorable dining experience needn’t work against one another,” says Andrew. “The most interesting ideas come when they work together. At The Bingham we’re creating a menu where our guests can indulge themselves and come away feeling healthy as well as relaxed.”
We decided to test the theory for ourselves, and cadged a river view table in the light, airy dining room. Mixing tradition with invention, the menu includes beef rump with salt-baked celeriac, fillet of lemon sole seasoned with natural sea salt from a garnish of seaweed and mussels, a butternut squash creme brûlée, and other modern British innovations. Being torn between two starters of gazpacho and English asparagus with a slow-cooked duck egg, I appealed to restaurant manager Ricardo for his expert opinion. Having beautifully described each dish I plumped for the asparagus, so was pleasantly surprised when Ricardo brought over an amuse bouche of Gazpacho for me to try too. With a kick of chilli and subtle aftertaste of grilled red pepper, the Spanish soup was a winner. But what left me smiling was the thoughtful side of the service. It’s the personal touch of heartfelt recommendations, the attentive service without any sense of intrusion, that sets The Bingham apart in the service stakes.
The set menu Market Lunch offers a choice of three dishes per course, and is priced at a very reasonable £15 for two courses and £20 for three. Having devoured our starters we grazed on freshly baked bread before diving into mains of hake with crushed potatoes, sprouting broccoli and garlic butter sauce, and a pappardelle with courgette, ricotta and basil. When presenting the food our server sold the freshness and finishing touches, and also offered garnishes, but made a point of not pushing salt as a seasoning. Each dish is designed to complement its ingredients and where the hake could have seemed unseasoned by itself, the garlic butter sauce set it off perfectly. Proving the point a low sodium dish can be just as appealing, as well as much more healthy!
We accompanied our meal with an organic Pinot Gris, just perfect to sup with such light, fresh ingredients. Desserts were just as tasty, and the deconstructed rhubarb crumble and strawberry panna cotta did not disappoint.
The restaurant at The Bingham is a cut above the rest of the eateries along the banks of the Thames in Richmond. The holistic approach is both refreshing and exciting. And there are always special events on offer too, many with a positive health focus. “Wellness is increasingly important in everything we do,” explains owner Samantha Trinder, who transformed the Georgian listed building into a secluded getaway for Londoners and a hub for the Richmond community. “Our guests are looking for healthier ways of living. Wellness should be fun and accessible, and we want The Bingham to be a place where you’ll feel relaxed and welcome — but above all, happy.”
Every month, well-known yoga teachers lead a unique two-hour Yoga Supper featuring meditation and an organic, vegan dinner. The Bingham’s regular series of Love Lunch events showcases inspirational speakers — including celebrity make-up artist Sarah Jagger and TV presenter Linda Duberley — alongside a two-course nutritionist-designed menu.
The hotel also hosts unique Wine Dinners – a friendly dinner party showcasing special wine discoveries with guests, new floral design workshops where guests can learn the secrets of flower arranging, and regular speakers and events during the annual Richmond Literary Festival.
Be it a lazy lunch, an inspirational evening or an indulgent special occasion, the Bingham can play host to meet your wants. A unique destination which leaves you feeling both satisfied and invigorated. Who could ask for more?!