Peggy Jean, the newest instalment in the Daisy Green group – which boasts an array of cafes and restaurants across London – is one of the more unique restaurant settings you can ask for.
Set on a restored Victorian barge moored in Richmond, the establishment offers Aussie-style brunches and dinners perfect for group celebrations, along with stunning views of the Thames. The Handbook took a trip to the new restaurant to review whether this is a winning entry in the iconic collection’s ever-increasing arsenal of hot spots.
What Sets It Apart
Peggy Jean may be the newest offering but – crucially – it is located on a barge, giving it an immediate edge. Decked out with pastel-pink parasols and an exterior designed by Sir Peter Blake, the artist behind the sleeve design of the iconic Beatles album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart’s Club Band, it’s about as idyllic as London dining gets.
The collection, co-founded by Prue Freedman and Tom Onions in 2012, features a range of menus inspired by Freedman’s childhood spent on her family sheep farm, with freshness, quality and simplicity at the heart of its self-proclaimed philosophy. Each venue has its own personality and quirks, while still firmly establishing an overarching Daisy Green identity.
The day we went was one of those days you sometimes get in London when the sun is out, and the whole melting pot of the city spills out onto the streets and banks of the Thames. The novel setting is ideal for summer days like this.
Something about the environment – maybe it’s the riverside setting or the groups of people lining the riverbanks enjoying the warmth – lends itself to you inevitably embracing your bougiest self. Usually stick to beer or wine? Well, get ready to knock back 3 Aperol Spritzes. Generally skip dessert? You will be bargaining with your friends, trying to get them to split a tiramisu.
What We Ordered
As a large group, we decided to test the limits of the bartenders by ordering across their cocktail menu. Negronis, Margaritas, Aperol Spritz, Espresso Martinis – all were requested and passed with flying colours.
For the main course, the options will satisfy all dietary requirements, with meat-eaters, fish-lovers, vegetarians and vegans all well-catered for. I ordered the Sashimi grade tuna steak, which arrived perfectly cooked with the acidity of the accompanying citrus salad cutting up brilliantly against the meat. For dessert, I successfully persuaded my friend to share a tiramisu, which is light, creamy, and has just the right amount of coffee.
The Handbook was there for dinner, but if there was ever a setting that screamed – loudly, via one of the megaphones used to coach the rowing teams in training you might see vigorously sailing by – “group brunch”, this is it. Its Australian roots are basically a foolproof stamp of approval for the quality of its coffee while offering everything from staples like smashed avocado and blueberry buttermilk pancakes to signature dishes like the Dirty Daisy (a riff on patatas bravas with chorizo) and The Bondi (a fancy breakfast roll with a spicy kick). Best enjoyed with plenty of company, and perfect for whatever you’re celebrating – a hen party, college reunion, or even just the presence of the sun in London. You’ll inevitably find something to cheers too.
Peggy Jean is not the type of place you’ll find featured on guides to the best secret haunts in London, and it has about the level of subtlety you’d expect given the setting (did we mention the pink parasols?). In fact, it revels in its indulgence. But even the most dedicated culinary cynic will happily melt into the environment with a mouthful of calamari and tuna sashimi steak. Grab a group and soak up the sun, your instagram feed will definitely thank you for it.
Peggy Jean Richmond
The Boat, Bridge Boat House, Riverside, Richmond TW9 1TH