Family-owned restaurant showcasing quality food at a reasonable price
The Dysart is another newly awarded Michelin starred restaurant for the 2020 guide. It has been operating since 2008 by Barny Talyor and now has the eminently capable Head Chef, Kenneth Culhane (a former Roux Scholarship winner and chef at 2 Michelin starred Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin). There was nothing I didn’t like about this restaurant. It is a beautiful Arts and Crafts building of 1904, a short ride or pleasant 20-minute walk from Richmond with genuinely quality dishes, super hospitality and all at insanely affordable prices. Frankly, I wish I had come here sooner and has been my loss not to have done so. At just above £90 pp price for this (very good) tasting menu all in, it represents an exceedingly good return on investment and you simply must try here as a lovely option to do in London wherever you are.
Firstly Dysart has probably got the perfect selection of menus: an a la carte averaging £55-60 depending on choices, a set lunch menu at £37 for three courses (a choice of two dishes per course which are also featured on the main menus) and a tasting menu of 7 courses for £70. Some restaurants provide allowances if you want to do things slightly differently, some vehemently disallow anything against set rules, but I was most impressed how calmly and readily the general manager here was able to flex for some deviations of the tasting menu – so much so, that our alterations (mostly as a result of my fussing) pretty much meant we had created our own tasting menu(!) from just the dishes we wanted. Absolutely 100% full marks on the hospitality here as this made myself in particular, so happy from the outset – it is a joy to be able to have all the bits that you wish and this is something that I have not had offered in a very long time.
So, our tasting menu started with canapes: parmesan shortbreads with truffle which were powerhouse cheese shortbreads with lovely, rich and crumbly texture; pork kremeskies (a form of croquette but with bacon wrapped around the main content, in this case pork) which were light and with good flavour with pleasing rhubarb chutney and fennel to provide a little light relief. The only one I was not sold on as much were the parmesan biscuits with Seville orange marmalade and lemon tart which seem to deny the parmesan joy more than anything, but were harmless in themselves. Homemade sourdough had a fantastically crunchy crust by the way and with light, fluffy bread served with a good quality and softened salted butter.
An amuse bouche of cured black bream with Oscietra caviar, lemon, cucumber and caper sauce was a buttery and clean beginning, which all decorated the fresh bream well I thought. Charred mackerel was the first dish and this was an impressive starter. The cooked mackerel itself had a good quality and was very succulent and served with a beautifully braised daikon radish, ginger and champagne sauce, akin to green Thai curry in flavour. This was pitch-perfect for the course and very pleased to have been steered to have this.
The cauliflower soup was whipped and light, albeit slightly gloopy in texture, but with an interesting lavender sorbet in the centre to bring relief to the creaminess and served with a decent coffee and almond biscuit – a good dish to have and confirming my belief that if you can get something as simple as a soup really well done, the kitchen is operating at a quality line that is very good. Oxtail risotto was made with the higher grade of carnaroli rice from Acquerello suppliers and was served with bone marrow and pickled chillies. Risotto is not my most favourite dish, but when it is done well it is a joy and I really liked the earthy and deep flavours of this risotto, lifted by the pickled chillies to a really well-judged level (not too hot but just the right amount).
Next up was turbot from an enormous 12kg fish, served with a sauce Jacqueline (cream sauce made with sherry, similar to vin jaune made with dessert wine served at The Sportsman) and came with Petersham purple kale and lovely morels. Lovely, soft turbot was complimented beautifully by the chosen sauce and vegetables whilst allowing the turbot to be felt in every way. This was followed by an absolutely stunning venison course made with Sika deer (a smaller Japanese deer, now more commonly found in Devon). The loin of the venison was delightful and poached in mull, served wine cardinal purée (comprised of beetroot, chestnut and Brussels sprouts), roasted salsify and poivrade sauce (a form of pepper gravy). This was utterly superb together and together with a braised piece, comprising of the shoulder, made for a brilliant main. Applause all round.
Two desserts were very satisfying: the lovely made lemon verbena crème brûlée had a wonderfully thin coating of sugar all over and warm, soft texture throughout the centre of the crème filling which was great, with my only wish of the verbena being a touch more noticeable. Dorset apple cake with pistachio and a powerful and smooth blackcurrant sorbet. This dish also had a very pleasing presentation. Petit fours were colourful, pretty and also good: small chocolate truffles that were nicely sized unlike the golf balls that they can come as and are very often way too much for people being so rich, beautiful pear bites and mini cakes and jellies.
Wines were allowed to be brought in at a very generous corkage rate and the total bill came to just over £92 per person. For this quality of food and treatment, I would simply pay this in my sleep and this is plain, good food all round. I would actually go so far as to say this is a new discovery in London for me and another standout place; I think the chances of you having a great time here are very high and I am already looking forward to coming back here and showing it to others that have not been. Another belter for London.
Food Grade: 83%
Location (Click google logo for directions)