I am going to set my stall out early on this one – The Dysart Arms is one of the must visit dining destinations in the Greater London and London area for 2013. There, I said it. The food is inventive, brilliantly executed and a fabulous exploration of seasonal produce. A lot of the dishes we experienced were of the highest level and a few were truly memorable.
The Look and Location
The Dysart Arms has roots all the way back to 1904, where it was built as an Arts and Crafts building. Since then it has been lovingly and cleverly restored to emphasise as many of the original features as possible. The result of this is a beautiful, warm and inviting setting. The centrepiece of which is a stunning oak bar made from decommissioned 1850s Napoleonic period warships – it`s just gorgeous.
Answer me this, where else would you get a wonderful dining experience, a refined décor AND a view of Richmond park to boot? The answer is not many places.
Head chef, Kenneth Culhane, won the Roux Scholarship in 2010, the most prestigious and demanding competition in the Country for accomplished young chefs, recognised and known all over the world. Culhane has done a tremendous job of bringing fine dining standard food to the Dysart Arms. Each dish really seems to have been carefully constructed from the finest ingredients and the result is an abundance of diverse and memorable flavours.
One particular highlight from the starter selection was the Parsnip soup, with coconut foam and lime (£7.50). This dish had great depth of flavour from the parsnip and coconut, which was beautifully cut through by the lime. Such simplicity and yet such rich flavours is a testament to the establishments fantastic cuisine. We also found a surprise Japanese dish on the menu, albeit with a few twists. The Organic Scottish sashimi, crisp sushi rice, smoked lime and vanilla (£8.50), was a light and fresh way to kick off our gastronomic adventure.
Following on I would really recommend the Venison main; this melt in the mouth dish combines a rich port glazed quince and a perfect poivrade sauce accompaniment. We also really enjoyed the Wiltshire beef with confit heritage carrots; however, we did find the miso mustard sauce to be a little over powering on the beef here. Probably the only blemish on an otherwise stunning meal.
But it was dessert that really caught our imagination. The Valrhona Jivara chocolate and praline bar to finish off the meal is the epitome of the indulgent and decadent treat (£9.50).The secret to this dessert is a delicate meringue and marshmallow centre, on which sits the dark chocolate. For a chocolate based dessert, this was extraordinarily light and not overbearing after a long meal. The accompanying miso salted caramel ice cream was an absolute revelation. The salt and caramel combination is a classic one, but the miso adds a real depth to the flavour which takes it to another level. This was a great way to cut through the chocolate and enhance the dish. To be honest, this was one of the most exciting and fun ice creams that I have ever experience – just gorgeous.
Also available is a an eclectic range of cheeses, including our personal favourite the authentic `Lancashire Bomb`. Our waiter showed an abundance of knowledge on each cheese and gave us some fabulous background stories to some of these wonderful cheeses. This was a great touch and displayed how the Dysart leaves no stone unturned, when it comes to pleasing visitors.
I would also wholeheartedly recommend their very, very reasonable set menu option. For £16.99 you can have two courses and 3 courses by £19.99. The offerings in the set menu are crafted with as much care and finesse as the a la carte options, but they just have less of an impact on your wallet. Having a meal at the Dysart Arms doesn`t have to just be for special occasions, but it is accessible and affordable too. In my opinion, you should book up a meal for two, take the set menu and then have a long walk around the gorgeous Richmond Park.
To make your booking, please visit http://www.thedysartarms.co.uk/
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