The White Swan, Twickenham riverside.
Well, what can I say. I have been coming here since my oldest child was a toddler and he is 24-years-old and a strapping man of 6’4”. We went back for Sunday lunch recently. I took his brother (6’3”) and sister (5’8”) and their father (6’0”) with a family friend (quite small). I mention these measurements because I often hear it said the White Swan can be a bit cramped particularly in Winter when you cannot sit outside on the incredibly pretty jetty. Let me tell you that feeding my family is like stabling horses and they were all perfectly comfortable seated at my favourite table in the window.
Chef Harriet Beresford is alone amongst this collection of cooks in that she has spent as much time in catering management as she has in the kitchen. Yet, from this impossibly tiny kitchen she serves amazing food. Top of my list were the potatoes. These are humble veg but in my mind if you can’t get these right then nothing else matters; it is non-negotiable in my book. She also serves up heritage carrots. I would go to the White Swan just for these. Her pork belly leaves nothing to be desired…and I was testing out my second lunch of the day. She serves the crackling separately. To me this says it all. Harriet also runs at the Bearcat Running Club at the Turk’s Head in Twickenham, often early on a Sunday morning. Maybe this has something to do with her undoubted prowess in the kitchen.
The White Swan, Riverside, Twickenham, Middlesex TW1 3DN
020 8744 2951
Best for people watching
Sunshine & Ravioli, Crown Rd, St Margarets
Ideally situated at the top of Crown Road, St Margaret’s is Sunshine and Ravioli. This eatery embodies everything that evokes la Dolce Vita of Italian chic here in our vibrant pocket of West London. Somewhere to relax, with a warm friendly atmosphere given a typically Latin flair by the owner Maurizio and an unpretentious, yet welcoming interior that reflects his idiosyncratic style of service and repartee.
The clientele range from the local builders and traders in the near vicinity to the actors and crew of the nearby Twickenham studio. The food is a mix of urban Italian and basic British staples with prices that are affordable along this strip of international cuisine offerings. The coffee, in our opinion, is molto bene and a cut above and price below the lattes cappuccino’s and espresso’s served elsewhere in TW1. Pop in and say buongiorno and fuel up and unwind on a hectic day.
Best for picnic gourmets
Gusto and Relish
Nothing says summer picnics quite like sausage rolls and when it comes to something at the substantial end of the range no-one makes them tastier - or larger - than Gusto and Relish.
This prize-wining deli on White Hart Lane produces perfect sausage roles in individual or family-size portions.
The minced pork is low in fat and the filling is packed into crisp, home-made pastry made by the owner Richard.
Single sausage rolls are £3.50. Long cuttable rolls for picnics can be made to order.
www. gustoandrelish.co.uk 56 White Hart Lane, Barnes 020 8878 2005
Best for Sunscreen
This straw stunner is a perfect balance of form and function. The shape is elegant and flattering but it is made of a special material that provides Factor 50 sunscreen. It is trimmed in ivory grosgrain ribbon. Its robust construction makes it is a good traveller.
Eric Javits. Tit Fer Tat. £400
Best for beach glam
Here is a hat designed to stop traffic if not on the beach then at least before you get there. It is made of a sturdy, man-made fibre that will stand the rigours of daily trips to to the sunspot of your choice.
Truelove Lingerie £110
Best for luxury
This is the top of the range sun hat. It is made of Florentine Straw and trimmed with black grosgrain silk. If any hat can transit from a day at the races, to weddings and dressy picnics, it is this one. Traditional processes mean it is as smooth as silk and will endure over the years.
The Italian Hat Company. Tit Fer Tat. £220
The 3 Best Facials
Best for long term improvement
The Peach Tree Beauty Clinic, Barnes. Cryo Derm Facial
I have a confession, despite my advancing years and good intentions on the grooming front; I am a virgin when it comes to most facial procedures. I have always been either too lazy or too pre-occupied with my children to bother. As a TV foreign correspondent, much to my producer’s amusement, I often washed my skin with the hotel shampoo.
So when I visited the Peach Tree Beauty Clinic in Barnes, I arrived positive but prepared to see little difference. I was wrong, both about the immediate outcome and the longer term impact on my skin.
The Cryo Derm Facial is delivered in four parts. Exfoliation is carried out with micro-dermabrasion, where the skin is blasted with crystals. Then vacuum suction, which boosts circulation, delivers lymphatic drainage which happens at 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Radio frequency treatment follows, which is designed to tighten the skin and the Cryo freezing technique is applied at 19 degrees Fahrenheit. This change in temperature is said to deliver the anti-aging element.
What surprised me most, was that I found the whole thing incredibly relaxing. It is a slightly unusual feeling but half way through I could feel myself nodding off.
So I learned a valuable lesson. Good skin happens when you make an effort and an investment. This is an expensive procedure but it works. In addition, I am reliably informed by the Peach Tree’s owner, Gill Sabine, if I went ahead with five more sessions there would be a bigger improvement since the production of collagen would exponentially increase and it is this which gives us plump, unlined skin.
Cryo Derm Facial: £400 per session.
Six sessions for the price of five.
www.thepeachtreebeautyclinic.co.uk 0208 741 1254
Best for relaxation and organic ingredients
Bhuti Spa, Richmond. Ila Gold Cellular Age Restore Face Therapy.
The clue is in the title. This is the gold standard of organically natural facials. It is at the other end of the spectrum from high tech facials; not better or worse but very different.
The basis of this facial is Frankincense. Long prized for it age defeating qualities, Frankincense became popular hundreds of years ago in the Middle East and India where it was used as incense and as a rejuvenating oil. Here it is used with gold extract and hyaluronic extract in combination with sonic wave therapy to stimulate collagen production.
As far as relaxation goes this is in pole position. I can honestly say I lay down in my little oasis of calm and within five minutes I was fully asleep. I woke up just before my therapist completed my facial. I felt like I had been on a three-week holiday and the affect lasted until the following morning.
It was hard to work out what made the most difference; the products or the deep relaxation but my face had lost the strained appearance it has developed in recent weeks. I followed up with a cup of herbal tea and a quick nap in the Members lounge.
Ila Gold Cellular Age Restore 60 Mins £100 90 Mins £150
Bhuti Spa. Hill Rise, Richmond, TW10 6UB
email@example.com 0330 400 3108
Best for immediate results
MJ Medi Spa, Hill Rise, Richmond.
Facialist Margarita Jivkova has a reputation as being one of the most effective therapists around. Helpfully, she offers a complementary consultation before you select from the three main facial treatments she offers.
She advised me to take the Retinol Plus Facial which uses Jan Marini products containing anti-oxidants and a growth hormone to stimulate the skin. What I like about Margarita’s approach is that she explains everything she is doing very clearly and can then offer a starter pack which makes life much easier going forward.
The Retinol Plus Facial uses the highest concentration of retinol and multiple advanced technology to re-surface and refine skin. It is a corrective facial and will provide immediate visible skin re-texturization, greater smoothness and hydration. It can also help minimize fine lines, acne, sun damage and discolouration spots.
Margarita offers an extensive range of treatments and stocks iS Clinical, a range of cosmeceutical products which is rated No3 in the United States.
Retinol Plus Facial (45 minutes) £100
MJ Medi Spa, Ozzie Rizzo 18 Hill Rise, Richmond TW10 6UA
On a Sunday sleep until you are hungry and then eat until you are sleepy.
These days we don’t always get the chance to do that but when we do we know we are well set up for the week ahead.
At RiverTribe we never under-estimate the importance of a good Sunday roast.
That is why we sent out a scouting party to track down the best lunches
on this stretch of the Thames.
We looked at location, ambience, the chef and their teams, choice and because we are a tribe who love their pets, at the establishments which
favoured dogs and their comforts and needs.
Of course we could not cover every pub and restaurant but we found three we thought
offered great value and something special.
Best for atmosphere and a hearty Sunday lunch.
The Prince’s Head, Richmond Green.
Now I can honestly say that I have lived in this area for most of my adult life but I have never eaten Sunday lunch here. Foreign travel for work meant I missed out on some key spots in our neck of the woods but, to be fair, it is easy to miss this hidden gem nestled right in the corner of Richmond Green. It’s neighbour, the Cricketers, is far easier to spot and draws in visitors heading down toward the river before they get to this pub. Yet, it is the Prince’s Head which delivers when it comes to a terrific Sunday roast. That is why it has established a fiercely loyal clientele.
Chef Callum Adel makes up for in confidence and skill what he lacks in years. He started cooking at the unbelievably young age of 14 before moving in a professional kitchen at 16. He worked at JK Sheekey’s and several other establishments before moving to the Prince’s Head where he began as the Sous Chef. When the Head Chef left to go to the Dove in Hammersmith, Callum took on the mantle here. He admits it is sometimes daunting with 120 to 150 covers every Sunday. The challenge is, he says, consistency. He offers roast beef, chicken, pork, seasonal lamb and a vegetarian option. The gravy is made with veal bones and the potatoes and baked in beef dripping. The apricot stuffing for the chicken was a particular RiverTribe favourite as were the Yorkshire puddings which were served with everything. Callum and his team handle all of this with an admirable aplomb, which make eating here just like home only better and without the washing up.
The dining room is round at the back behind the main bar and offers that kind of snuggly, comfortable space that has become associated with the new word borrowed from the Danes, Hygge. Nothing says Sunday lunch more than this spot in a historical setting full of atmosphere; you can even see the famous Maids of Honour houses from the front door. As you tuck into a heavily laden plate of traditional fare it is not hard to imagine Henry VIII heading down for a dalliance with Anne Boleyn.
The Prince’s Head, 28 The Green, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1LX
020 8940 1572
Best for the prettiest view,
consistent quality and the crunchiest potatoes anywhere on the river.
Best for families and
roast beef which is a
cut above the rest.
The Alexander Pope, Twickenham.
Chef Yildiray Mustafa is the Head Chef at the Pope, as it is known locally. He is a gentle giant of a man who roasts beef to perfection. His pork belly, chicken and veggie options are also good but it is the beef that stands alone here. This really is as good as it gets. There is an open fire, a spacious area where children have enough room to feel unrestricted in a way that does not annoy other diners and the Pope’s position right on the Thames is hard to beat (except by our third recommendation).
Yildiray is one of those guys who is in a position to boast about his food but is mild-mannered and self-deprecating; that in itself makes him an unusual chef. He has all the right credentials from the Ritz, Foliage at Hyde park corner, a two-star Michelin restaurant in Juan les Pins, the Orrarie, the Cow Pub in Dorset, Homewood Park in Bath, the Spring Inn in Berkshire and then the Prince Albert in Battersea before mooring his boat on our stretch of the river. His beef is as it should be, slightly charred on the outside and rare in the middle. I eat red meat infrequently but this was special. If you want a relaxing family-friendly pub and the possibility of a lovely walk along the Thames afterwards this is your spot.
The Alexander Pope, Hotel, Pub and Restaurant, Cross Deep, Twickenham, Middlesex. TW1 4RB
020 8892 3050
©RiverTribe Magazine 2017