The Dysart is set in leafy Petersham, not far from Richmond, in premises that used to be a country pub. The dining room has very well spaced tables, a stone floor and fireplace, with a central bar area. Head chef Kenneth Culhane won the Roux scholarship in 2010 and trained at serious kitchens including Patrick Guilbaud and Tetsuya.
To begin there was a pair of nibbles. A seaweed cracker was topped with mustard leaf, samphire and spiderwort leaf, and was pleasant enough, the cracker nicely crisp, though the topping of leaves was hardly exciting. Better was a lovely shortbread with courgette chutney, the biscuit base delicate (14/20). A further amuse-bouche was beetroot “soup” with goat curd and pistachios, along with cherry and shiso granita. This was an interesting combination, the granita having excellent texture, and the high quality pistachios adding a contrasting texture (15/20).
Charred mackerel with kombu-braised daikon and champagne and ginger sauce is a signature dish of the restaurant, and was as good as ever, the sauce a thing of beauty and going really well with the oily fish (17/20). Oxtail risotto featured bone marrow sauce, pickled chillies and Parmesan. The risotto was made using Acquarello rice, which is the premier brand of carnaroli rice from Piedmont, a rice developed by Piero Rondolini. This is aged for at least a year, then re-enriched with the germ of the rice using a patented process. The resulting rice does not stick, and is the preferred risotto rice of many chefs these days. The texture was indeed lovely and the oxtail was extremely tender, deeply flavoured and falling apart. The Parmesan added richness, the pickled chillies a touch of bite to balance: a superb dish (17/20).
Red leg partridge had the breast and also the leg confit, served on a bed of green cabbage with bacon, ceps and a sauce of the cooking juices. This was very enjoyable, the bird having pleasant flavour, the cabbage lightly cooked and the sauce suitably rich (16/20). Chocolate and praline bar came with cherries and an ice cream of vanilla nd cinnamon. The chocolate bar was quite rich and was a little soft in texture, the cinnamon slightly dominating the vanilla (14/20). Camomile crème brulee was technically well made and was my companion’s choice.
Petit fours comprised juniper and caramel truffles, sunflower seeds with toasted coconut, orange tuile and sloeberry financier. Coffee was from Drury, and was very good. Service was attentive, and the bill came to £86 each with some good New Zealand Pinot Noir. A typical cost per head here might be £70 or so with modest wine. This was another excellent meal at The Dysart, which was better than plenty of Michelin starred restaurants in London. It Is a restaurant that should get wider acclaim.Book