Petersham Nurseries · Covent Garden

©Victoria Lagnehag

When I heard that Richmond based Petersham Nurseries was opening in Covent Garden, it immediately made my list of places to visit.

Petersham has a reputation of combining elegant dining with beautiful interiors in an idyllic setting that appeal to busy Londoners. Creating that same concept in the more urban and evidently more touristy Covent Garden, is a bit of a gamble. It will either become a resounding success or just another tourist trap. I was eager to find out which.

Owners of Petersham, the Boglione family, had done a number of trials before launching in Covent Garden. Pop-ups in Selfridges and Dover Street Market to name a few, has been successful and sparked the idea of a more permanent solution in central London. 

Appropriately, Petersham is located on Floral Court, a stone’s throw from the Covent Garden piazza. The new premises span over 1,500 square metres and is a merge of La Goccia; a cocktail bar and restaurant, a second restaurant; The Petersham, The Delicatessen, a wine shop, a florist and interior shop.

©Victoria Lagnehag
©Victoria Lagnehag

Here’s what I was hoping for. The same attention to detail. The same seductive feel. The same type of food, before they lost their Michelin Star and ideally, a more appealing price tag. And well, that same feeling of encountering something different, which the Richmond branch successfully has accomplished.

The truth is, it wasn’t there. I even paid them a second visit just to give them a fair chance, but was disappointed all the same. 

Sure enough, everything looks the part but there are no surprises and it doesn’t trigger a purchase. The most important thing is that the atmosphere is gone. Perhaps the feeling of leaving London for suburban Richmond is part of it all? Or the location by Richmond Park, with the entrance down a muddy path, lined with pots and plants? Or the greenhouse that hosts the old wooden tables surrounded with flowers and string lights that make it all come together perfectly? Transforming the unique feeling of Petersham Richmond to Covent Garden was always an invitation to failure and to me, it looks exactly like one.

©Victoria Lagnehag
©Victoria Lagnehag

Losing focus on the recipe to success, is a common mistake. Entrepreneurs, regardless of genre, want to go bigger and bolder but forget to mind the details. What made us successful in the first place? How come we stood out enough to conquer the demanding London crowd in a very saturated market? How do we make our customers feel?

Sometimes it’s not about the food. Or the interior. Sometimes it comes down to atmosphere and the little details that make you come back.

Petersham Nurseries Covent Garden · Floral Court, London, WC2E 9FB · +44 20 7305 7676

©Victoria Lagnehag
©Victoria Lagnehag