Spring: The Skye is the Limit
Somerset House is one of those places that just exudes creativity. It's no surprise to see someone like acclaimed chef Skye Gyngell, the lady responsible for putting Petersham Nurseries Cafe on the map, even netting them a star, open shop there. One of the many qualities which shines through in Skye's dishes is seasonality, so naming her first solo joint Spring seems all very fitting.
Ever since I heard Skye was coming and saw the engaging menu on the website (hover over certain dishes and you'll see what I mean), I was jumping up and down with foodie excitement to go to Spring. With a concise and competitively priced cocktail list, it's a pity there's nowhere to enjoy a tipple on arrival. London Fashion Week is in full flow, so the people watching is second to none. For some reason, the outdoor tables with function chairs, in a stone cold corridor, just don't cut the mustard. Unsurprisingly, we opt to go straight to the table, albeit alarmed to be seated in a drab conservatory rather than the warmly lit elegant main dining room. Sensational on a sunny day, I imagine, but it's lashing out and leaves you wondering why you're sat out here when all the 'grownups' are next door.
An Amish-looking girl approaches us, to take an order I guess, and apologises for the delay but "someone was choking on their food". Too much information. Anyway, I'd recommend either a Spring Vesper or a Tuscan Gimlet to let off some schteam. Obviously I am all over the Vesper action but the agave and olive oil-spiked Gimlet also packs a punch. Maybe I take for granted when chefs bake gluten free bread especially for me, or even whack a slice on the Josper to liven up what they buy in processed, but there's nothing of the sort at Spring. Old school.
Be warned, prices are more monsoon season than Spring showers, but look out for the cracking Set Lunch Menu available seven days a week, which I'm intrigued to go back for. Whilst grilled calçot with romesco have a sublime freshness, these mini leek veggies are stringy and hazardous to cut. A spiced quail and king cabbage salad is better, but not ground-breaking.
Feeling hopeful for an improvement on the mains, sea bass with spicy spinach and lemon dressing doesn't kick much ass, but at least half a lemon comes to the rescue. Faith is somewhat restored thanks to a generous portion of perfectly pink lamb with the 'new kale'; cavolo nero and grilled radicchio. Also, a side of Crown Prince pumpkin with a sensational combination of honey, brown butter and crispy sage is worth writing home about.
Of-the-moment cheese rocchetta, served with walnuts and a meagre amount truffle honey, is inoffensive, but leaves me wondering, 'what if the walnuts were caramalised and flecked with salt...', or 'imagine if there was a hearty serving of truffle honey...'. Maybe some gluten free something would've saved the day, but I am left wondering.
Had there been a warmer vibe, or even an option of moving to the dining room, we could have easily polished off another bottle of wine, it is chucking it down outside remember, but it's just not happening. Through the Uber window, I watch Somerset House and the lingering Fashion Week set disappear into the distance and look forward to a few Sloe Gin Negronis at home. Now, that would put a spring in anyone's step.
Five Very Kerri things about Spring
- The VFM Set Lunch Menu
- Girl Power in the form of Skye Gyngell
- People watching paradise
- Olive oil cocktails
- The Main Dining Room