This Richmond Restaurant Has Cosiness Down To An ArtTue 01 2018 | admin
BY LYDIA MANCH
Richmond’s windswept and bitingly cold the evening we visit Antipodea on Hill Street, and we’d be happy just to find the restaurant warm and stocked with wine.
The newest branch of the Aussie-influenced chain’s gone one better, though, with a wood-burning fireplace dominating the centre of the room, tables circling it. Between the steady glow of warmth coming our way and the room hovering at a gentle buzz, it’d make for good date territory — informal enough for a quick drink and bar snack, inviting enough to keep you there for hours if the evening’s going well.
We spot occasional influences from a land down under on offer: freshly-baked Anzac biscuits available to takeaway, and an Antipodean-slanted wine list at decent prices, with a good range by the glass. The cheese and Vegemite straws are a surprise highlight — ordered for novelty value, demolished with single-minded focus when they turn out to be a moreish, a compact hit of cheddariness and umami.
It’s not all smooth sailing — the first four dishes we try to order aren’t available, (plus a couple more our waiter pre-emptively flags to us). 7pm on a weekday is early to have run out of so much. Of the dishes we manage to stake a claim to, not all are as distinctively Aussie as those cheese straws — or as distinctive, most of them nicely-done — if not that excitingly-done — gastropub standards.
The burrata sounds more eventful on the menu than it is on the plate — a strip of grilled pepper and a peeled, slightly flavourless tomato plonked next to it. And the Baby Sinclair pizza (cheddar, kale, mushroom, parmesan and chilli, wood-fired) badly needs something saucier or oilier thrown into the mix; it’s mouth-scratchingly dry.
But the saffron and ox cheek risotto makes for good winter comfort food, properly unctuous and silky at the same time. And to be honest, as long as the cold weather lasts, we’d go for the fireplace alone. There might be some teething troubles on the food menu, but when it comes to cosiness, Antipodea Richmond already has it down to an art.
Antipodea, 30 Hill Street, TW9 1TW.