Best places to dine out near Hampton Court Palace
BEST PLACES TO DINE NEAR HAMPTON COURT PALACE
Discover the crown jewels of East Molesey’s food scene.
Top image: The Mitre, Hampton Court
Words: Imogen Willis
Opulent dining was a display of wealth in Henry’s Tudor palace, and many an impressive fare of food was displayed to guests. Continuing from this foodie tradition there are some fantastic places to dine out mere metres from Henry VIII’s home. Whether you are looking for a post-walk meal or a classy dining experience to complement this September’s Concours of Elegance motorcar show at Hampton Court Palace, take your pick and dine like a king.
THE KINGS ARMS HOTEL
Overlooking the Hampton Court Palace maze, and opposite Bushy Park – this is the perfect location to reconvene after a tour of the palace or a walk in the park. Formal dining is located at The Six restaurant and bar, named after Henry VIII’s wives, with more relaxed seating available in the lounge and outdoor terrace. Make sure to visit in the first week of September from the 2nd to the 4th to sample the Charles Heidsieck Champagne tasting dinner in honour of the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace. Guests are invited to enjoy a six-course evening tasting menu designed by award-winning head chef Jack Scoines, with an optional Charles Heidsieck Champagne to complement each course.
Image: The Six Restaurant and Bar at The Kings Arms
LE PETIT NANTAIS
For a pinch of Parisian romance head to Le Petit Nantais in the heart of Hampton Court village. Opened in December 1997 by Jean-Philippe and Kim Gravier, their ethos has remained unchanged: to use fresh and seasonal local produce to create fantastic French dishes. Handmade bread is supplied by Tim the Baker in Thames Ditton, alongside fish freshly caught in Newquay by their fisherman Buck, seasonal vegetables from New Covent Garden Market and specially imported French cheese and wine. The menu is full of flavoursome and delicious traditional French dishes including escargot, French onion soup, Toulouse sausages, and steak tartare all served with a signature Petit Nantais stamp. Swirl your French wine and dine on the delicious menu under a canopy of twinkling fairy lights interwoven into boughs that creates a dreamy atmosphere. Rugby fans will also enjoy the memorabilia from photos to shirts that line the walls.
For delicious Middle Eastern flavours, visit Lebanese restaurant Mezzet. Their slogan, “We believe in friendship and tasty food” is put into practice wholeheartedly, with warm service and delicious Lebanese dishes which have won them the 2021 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award. A favourite with locals, the restaurant has a buzzing atmosphere with cosy interiors and windowed doors they open up to the street in the summer months. They serve a variety of hot and cold mezza plates, which arrive as tapas-style starters, and include favourites such as humous and tabouleh alongside falafel and kibbeh, a wheat shell filled with minced lamb, onion and pine nuts. Follow this with a hot main such as the mixed grill which is great for sharing. Make sure to take a visit to their sister restaurant down the road, Mezzet Dar, serving tapas inspired by Spain and Lebanon.
Priding itself on its homemade pizza dough and pasta, La Fiamma is a top location for hearty Italian cooking. The interiors are rustic with exposed brick walls and simple wooden furnishings, with freshly cut flowers at the centre of each table. Large windows at the back of the restaurant offer views over Bushy Park and its antlered inhabitants. Watch the deer graze on grass as you enjoy a bowl of the special pasta polpo or a slice of pizza paired with a cocktail or glass of wine from their extensive menu.
THE MUTE SWAN
Opposite the gates of Hampton Court Palace, The Mute Swan offers a combination of comfort, cask ales, excellent food and service that has won it the 2021 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Award. Downstairs is bar-focused, offering a cosy environment to enjoy beers and specially sourced wines. On sunny days, enjoy a pint outside the front with views of the palace gates and historic Hampton Court Bridge crossing the Thames. Or to explore their restaurant space, take the metal spiral staircase upstairs in the centre of the bar. The food is upmarket pub-fare, with a changing daily menu – to take a glimpse before you visit, make sure to head to their website where they upload it before midday each day.
Left image: Riverside terrace at The Mitre. Right image: Dining at The Mitre.
The Mitre Hotel is a fabulous spot for eating and drinking overlooking the Thames, consisting of two riverside restaurants, bars and terraces. The building was constructed in 1665 as an inn for travellers visiting the palace, but now it has been transformed into a classy and unique place to stay, drink, and dine. The 1665 Riverside Brasserie, named after The Mitre’s founding date, offers indoor dining around their majestic centrepiece bar or on their beautiful alfresco riverside terrace. Soak up the views of the river during the summer and enjoy rose from the Whispering Angel bar, nestled in the corner of the terrace. As the autumn sweeps in make the most of their heated outdoor spaces, firepits and blankets, or head for stylish drinks at The Mitre’s indoor cocktail and wine bar, Coppernose. Afterwards, if you’d prefer to delay the journey home, slip upstairs to stay in one of their stylish rooms, tastefully designed with sporting, royal, historical, and cultural themes in mind.
Image: The Mitre.
This authentic Japanese BBQ restaurant is perfect for those looking for a fun interactive meal, in a gorgeous low-lit interior, featuring trellises of cherry blossom adorning the walls. Tables are centred around a grill with a down draft ventilation system that pumps smoke away from the table, creating all the enjoyment of a BBQ in a smoke-free dining space. All meat, fish and vegetables arrive at the table raw for you to grill, including premium grade wagyu beef and British steak, creating a unique dining experience where grilling rites are handed over to guests. In addition to the grill, the a la carte menu also offers a wonderful selection of sashimi, sushi, katsu curry, noodles and donburi that give you a delicious variety of Japanese cuisine to choose from.