Danielle and I enjoy trying out new lunch venues and so it was that the other day we set off to 144 On The Hill, a recently revamped restaurant and bar within the Richmond Hill Hotel. The hotel is actually at the top of the hill, a big sprawling old building almost next to Richmond Park and with beautiful views out across the Thames valley.
The bar and restaurant actually have their own entrance, though we failed to spot this on arrival, entering instead via the hotel reception and a sequence of corridors.
The bar and the views are at the front of the building, with the restaurant tucked away behind. It’s a big, quiet, light, pleasant-feeling space, comfortably and rather traditionally furnished in shades of pink and green.
Andrea gave us good menu advice
The menus include a set lunch at a reasonable £15 for two courses, £19 for three. On Sundays you can have a roast and dessert for £18. Afternoon teas are also a speciality.
The kitchen uses local ingredients wherever possible, and emphasises seasonality. As we sipped our pretty summery Bellinis, our waitress, the conscientious and charming Andrea, showed herself well informed about the menu options already suitable for Danielle (who can’t eat gluten or cow’s-milk products), and which others could be adapted to her requirements.
Well prepared and presented dishes
Keen cooks ourselves, we found all the dishes we chose both well-prepared and well-presented.
I began with a lovely thick heritage tomato soup, attractively served with two small Sussex farmhouse cheddar rarebits; Danielle opted for goats’ cheese and beetroot salad, which she said tasted even better than it looked.
For my main course I chose linguine with Cornish crab, lime and chilli: this tasted both fresh and delicious. Danielle opted for grilled hake, nicely cooked but rather plain without its butter sauce; side dishes of hand-cut potato fries and green beans both hit the spot, however.
During our lunch we tried a bottle of Houghton The Bandit, on Andrea’s recommendation; a Western Australian Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend, pleasant in itself, with notes of gooseberry and elderflower, it also worked well with our food.
We found the portions generous, and both felt too full to try the tempting-looking range of desserts, opting instead for a cappuccino and an Egyptian mint herbal infusion.
High calibre cooking
144 On The Hill has the feel of, and evidently at the moment primarily functions, as a hotel restaurant. On our Friday lunchtime visit , our fellow lunchers were hotel residents, plus a large conference group.
As we left, this time via the proper restaurant entrance, we both agreed that we would have sacrificed a few parking spaces for a new, nicely landscaped, outside seating area to attract passing trade.
In this location, and with cooking of this calibre, 144 On The Hill deserves to attract more diners.
144 On The Hill, Richmond Hill, Richmond TW10 6RW. 144onthehill.co.uk