The Dysart, with Roux scholar Kenneth Culhane running its kitchen, is in what used to be a pub in Petersham, near Richmond. It has become a regular haunt of mine, and in the 2020 it was finally awarded the Michelin star that it deserved from the outset. There was a tasting menu available at £70 as well as a cheaper set three course lunch at £29.50 in addition to the a la carte choice. I have written in previous reviews about the unusually good wine list.
A trio of canapes comprised pork croquette with tamarind sauce, cod brandade with Celtic mustard and fennel butter and Parmesan shortbread with lemon thyme. The pork worked well with the sweetness of the tamarind, and the shortbread was fine, but the pick of these was the cod brandade, which avoided being too salty (15/20 average). This was followed by a seasonal amuse-bouche of pumpkin soup with miso cream and a buckwheat tuile. This was a comforting and not too sweet start to the meal (15/20).
A signature dish of the restaurant since it opened has been charred mackerel with a champagne broth flavoured with ginger and radish braised with kombu (kelp). This is a lovely dish, the mackerel precisely cooked with a crisp skin, the ginger nicely complementing the natural oiliness of the fish, the acidity in precise balance (17/20). Oxtail risotto was made using seven-year aged Acquarello rice. This was the star dish of the meal, the oxtail marinated for three weeks and the rice cooked with a stock made from a lemon, herb, rosemary and dashi infusion rather than a meat stock. There was also just a touch of fresh chilli, which was grown in the restaurant’s garden. The overall effect was glorious, the rice having superb texture, the rich flavour of the oxtail seeping into the perfectly cooked rice (18/20).
The next dish was gnocchi with beurre noisette and white truffle from Alba. I am a fan of truffle, but the gnocchi itself was not as light and fluffy as it might have been (14/20). Better was longhorn beef came in three forms: rump, fillet and shoulder. This came with an old variety French potato called Belle de Fontenay, Swiss chard and a red wine jus. The meat had lovely flavour and the earthy combination with the chard and potatoes worked really well (17/20). On the side were some seasonal vegetables (carrots, Tokyo turnips and parsnips) and Landaise potatoes, layered with onion and a little parsley.
Pre-dessert was a series of apple textures. Apple sorbet was made with Granny Smith apples and came with poached apple, apple purée and a black sesame glass tuile with an interesting addition of a touch of freshly grated Dorset wasabi. This was refreshing, and the hint of spice from the wasabi went well with the fruit (15/20). For dessert, a cake of poached Dorset apples came with blackcurrant sorbet and pistachio. The sorbet was very good but the base of the apple cake was overly crumbly (14/20). Better was a Valrhona chocolate dessert with yuzu marmalade and wild strawberry sorbet. Chocolate desserts can easily be overpowering but here the rich, silky chocolate was beautifully balanced by the acidity of the yuzu and the strawberries (17/20).
Coffee was from Drury and was accompanied by a plate of petit fours. There was an almond financier with pear and arbutus fruit with macerated raspberry and lemon verbena and a sour apricot and camomile jelly. The bill came to £119 per head including wine. Service was good, though wine topping up could be improved upon. Overall this was an excellent lunch at the ever-reliable Dysart. I am pleased that Michelin have finally noticed that this is a restaurant that thoroughly deserves a star.Book