The Dysart is tucked away in leafy Petersham, on the outskirts of Richmond, set in a former pub. The dining room is very appealing, with stone floor, widely spaced tables, a fireplace and a piano in the room reflecting the musical background of the owner. Head chef Kenneth Culhane won the Roux scholarship before being recruited to lead the kitchen here, and Michelin finally recognised his talents with a star in the 2020 guide, an award that was long overdue.
The meal began with a series of canapes. Parmesan shortbread with pomegranate seeds and candied walnuts was very enjoyable, the pomegranate seeds providing freshness and the biscuit base having plenty of cheese flavour and very good texture (16/20). Wild carabineros prawns were the filling of a spring roll, along with kombu and confit lemon with a little pickled chilli. The acidity of the lemon was nicely judged to balance the natural sweetness of the high-quality prawn, while the subtle hint of chilli lifted the dish (17/20).
Orkney hand-dived scallop was served raw with generous dollop of excellent oscietra caviar from top supplier N25, garnished with an oyster leaf and served on a little crisp bread. katsu bread crisp (16/20). This was followed by chicken consommé with morels and black truffle from south east France, simple but enjoyable dish with a very earthy flavour that was well suited to this wild winter’s day (15/20).
The next dish was a more technical affair, with three different layers served in a glass, with a mix of hot and cold elements. The bottom layer had maple syrup and Pedro Ximines sherry, the middle was egg yolk with Maldon salt, as well as a garnish of chives and kombu on top of a layer of double cream. This was interesting though perhaps a touch saltier than ideal, and there was quite a lot of richness between the egg yolk and the sweet sherry (14/20). Focaccia was made using sourdough and made from scratch in the kitchen.
Bream had been hung for five days and covered with rice vinegar, before being charred and served with a lovely radish, ginger and champagne sauce and some shallots. Some variant of this dish has been on the menu here since it opened, and the sauce is spectacularly good, the Asian flavours combining well with the champagne (17/20). Celeriac espuma was enhanced with burnt apple, vanilla, winter truffles and was covered with a crisp chestnut tuile. Celeriac is a robust winter flavour and worked nicely with the apple (15/20).
The star dish was turbot from a huge 9kg fish, the fillet fried and served with spinach and a scallop and champagne velouté. The cooking of the fish was extremely precise and the light velouté allowed the terrific flavour of the turbot to really shine (18/20). Shh’annu lamb from the south of Scotland was from an older than usual lamb (almost hogget age). Rump and shoulder were served on a base of ham-braised lentils, with a lamb jus with tarragon and truffle. This had unusually deep flavour, the lentils offsetting the richness of the dish (16/20). Pheasant was roasted and served with braised pheasant leg, a mousse of cep mushrooms, a hazelnut tuile and a jus made from the cooking juices. The bird was nicely cooked and the mushroom mousse had good flavour, the crisp tuile adding an extra texture (16/20).
Blood orange was just in season, and formed the pre-dessert. This was served with smooth yoghurt sorbet and olive oil, which sounds a little odd but worked quite well, the slight bitterness of the orange making a suitable refreshing transition from savoury to dessert (15/20). The main dessert was a classy Valrhona chocolate parfait with mango and vanilla ice cream, the chocolate smooth and rich, nicely balanced by the acidity of the mango (strong 16/20).
Coffee was from Difference Coffee and tea from Lalani, which are both top notch suppliers. Service, led by owner Barney Taylor, was charming. The bill came to £134 a head in total, with the food being priced at £110 for the tasting menu. You could of course eat for less if you opted for the three course menu at £55 each. This was an impressive meal, with high quality ingredients and consistently excellent technical execution.Book
Further reviews: 27th Oct 2023 | 17th May 2023 | 17th Feb 2023 | 12th Jun 2021 | 24th Jul 2020 | 04th Jul 2020 | 13th Mar 2020 | 15th Nov 2019 | 14th Nov 2018 | 15th Dec 2017 | 15th Sep 2015 | 04th Mar 2014 | 03rd Jan 2014