New dining hotspot Spring is a light-flooded daydream — Photo courtesy of Spring Restaurant / Somerset House
Its sweeping Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court is host to London Fashion Week, the famous Christmastime ice skating rink and the live music Summer Series with American Express. The grounds are also home to The Courtauld Gallery, The Embankment Galleries and endless nooks of Tudor mystery. (Truthfully, the Deadhouse is a must-see for spooky intrigue.)
Few London cultural centers so dextrously showcase British artistic achievement from both the present and the past as Somerset House, seated on the Embankment waterfront. And at the heart of Somerset House's zeitgeist-hailing New Wing, set adjacent to the building's long-standing West Wing, is Spring restaurant, the culinary creation of Australian chef Skye Gyngell.
Gyngell and her team work by a passion for all things "heartfelt, wholesome [and] produce driven" — Photo courtesy of Spring Restaurant / Somerset House
Spring has been the talk of the town since its opening in 2014, quickly punctuated by a host of A-list visitors. Spring is led, first and foremost, by the season, changing its menus daily to reflect all things freshly sourced. Their crab – served with curry leaves, tamarind and butternut squash at £28 – is from the salty cliffs of Dorset, and their cheese hails from Hampshire.
And if that weren't enough, their culinary ethos of "heartfelt, wholesome [and] produce driven" somehow balances perfectly with the restaurant's aesthetic achievements: the place is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, a delightful mix of floral Georgian and light-drenched minimalism, every bit of leafy greenery or marble accent placed with a near theatrical, yet somehow organic, precision.
It's no wonder that Chef Gyngell's resume includes a Food Editor position at Vogue (in addition to Parisian training and that Michelin star she earned for Petersham Nurseries Café in 2004).
Like so many of London's high-brow venues, there isn't an ounce of stuffiness to Spring's elegance; its timeless atmosphere makes diners feel like part of the interior art, and there may be no better time to stuff your face with grilled rabbit and ricotta then when you're feeling your most elegant.
Book in advance (Reservations are a must.) for a set lunch, and enjoy speck with toasted hazelnuts and celeriac remoulade; grilled mackerel with farro (Their fish is usually sourced from Brighton.); and a meringue with citrus curd and Jersey cream, all for the three-course price of £29.50.
If you're going a la carte instead, then try a rich lamb with freekeh, sivoni, labneh, flat bread and (Get your passport ready!) a bitter chocolate cake with hazelnut ice cream and espresso caramel.