The plates presented are as picturesque as the setting. Warm, freshly-baked bread rolls arrive accompanied by a pat of butter with the consistency of whipped cream, the simplest yet most satisfying combination to gear me up for my selected dishes. The baked smoked haddock fish cake with roasted celery soup, crispy capers, parsley mayonnaise offers a perfect balance of crunch and creaminess, while the fish within is perfectly soft and flaky. The resident sommelier enquires about my tastes, smiles, then disappears briefly before returning with a bottle of 2017 Los Caminos Merlot from the Colchagua Valley in Chile. Light, rich and with a little bit of spice – it’s my absolute favourite blend of sensations, and the perfect paring for my main dish.
I’ve opted for braised ox cheek with buttery bone marrow, celeriac, kale and a fragrant yeast crumble. It’s completely delicious, the perfectly cooked meat falling apart and the merest nudge from my silverware. It melts on consumption in a flurry of flavour and I struggle to eat it slowly. The crumble creates that devilishly good blend of rich umami and delicate sweetness, which makes in near impossible to put one’s fork down.
The grand finale comes in the form of a quintessentially English dessert with a local twist – rhubarb pavlova with vanilla custard and poached rhubarb laid out artfully atop a slab of meringue and alongside a zingy rhubarb sorbet. It’s a short, sharp explosion of flavour that reminds me strongly of summers spent in the countryside as a child, hoovering up as much rhubarb fool as I could get away with. Like a razor, rhubarb slices through the saccharine meringue with elegance.
Pleasantly plump and completely satiated, I sample the signature kiwi martini while watching kayakers paddle idly down towards Teddington. It’s a rare thing to be able to simply sit and watch the world go by in this busy day and age, and the meditative quality of this is certainly exacerbated by the clear view and sounds of the river. I feel like I’ve found the perfect bolthole to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and it’s fully-equipped with incredible food, a wonderful staff force and a unique snapshot of the river. Idyllic.
Bingham Riverhouse, 61-63 Petersham Road, Richmond, TW10 6UT, 020 8940 0902, binghamriverhouse.com