A taste of tranquillity at impressive La Goccia

All-day restaurant and bar is unbearably tasteful, offering a dreamy respite from the daily grind

Thursday, 12th May — By Tom Moggach

La goccia

The bar at La Goccia comes complete with leopard-print stools and red velvet sofas

IT’S just a dozen stops by Overground but feels a world away. Petersham Nurseries in leafy Richmond has built a reputation for low-key, bohemian luxury.

The swanky garden centre sells irresistible antiques and Murano glassware. The greenhouse restaurant won a Michelin Green Star for sustainability, sourcing produce from the family’s organic farm in south Devon.

I’ve never made a visit but can certainly recommend the next best thing – their central London outpost in Covent Garden. La Goccia is tucked away in Floral Court between King Street and Floral Street.

This all-day restaurant and bar is one piece of the Petersham puzzle. Opposite is their fine dining Italian restaurant, where tasting menus include vegetarian and vegan.

Their delicatessen trades on the street corner, selling focaccia sandwiches, seasonal salads, classy cakes and artisanal wines.

It’s all almost unbearably tasteful, but Petersham offers a dreamy respite from the hectic daily grind.

Secure a table in the peaceful inner courtyard, abundantly planted with specimen trees and gigantic pot plants. Or take a table inside La Goccia, where the walls are ablaze with huge floral paintings and every ledge and table boasts lavish arrays of cut flowers.

I peeked into the separate bar in a long side room, with leopard-print stools and red velvet sofas.

The bar itself, believe it or not, is apparently made with real leaves collected from gardens in Milan and hand-dipped in bronze. I can imagine a happy evening sipping Bitter Orange Blossom cocktails or Three Citrus Lemonade.

In the open-plan kitchen, the chefs at La Goccia turn out a range of sharing plates or “cicchetti”, Italian inspired and composed with top quality produce.

We shared half a dozen plates for lunch. “Coccoli” are deep-fried puffs of dough that you drape or dip in your choice of two toppings – in our case, mortadella ham and whipped stracchino cream cheese.

A dish of burrata and roasted Grezzina courgettes packed a feisty punch, the roasted veg doused in olive oil, mint and a generous hit of chilli.

Deep-fried sage leaves and anchovy are one of my favourites. You press the salty fish fillet between two sage leaves, dunk in batter then plunge them in the flyer. Here they were done to perfection – dry, crisp and wildly addictive.

The prices at La Goccia reflect the quality of raw ingredients and the dazzling design and aesthetic.

We had a hand-dived scallop each, £17 for the pair, flash cooked in their shell and swimming in a parsley-flecked butter.

The cooking here is decent but not perfect. A wild garlic risotto was beautiful – a vivid emerald green – but slightly bland; the French beans and mange tout in a garden salad perhaps a touch overcooked.

But at La Goccia it’s the overall experience that lingers in the memory. Service was friendly and the food arrived fast.

The secret world of Floral Court is brilliantly imagined – with no expense spared, a sustainable ethos and impressive attention to detail.

La Goccia
1 Floral Court, WC2E
020 7305 7676
www.lagoccia.co.uk

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