Spring, Skye Gyngell’s studiously elegant, stylised European restaurant in Somerset House, is paring back its menu to what Gyngell calls “Spring Tavola,” an homage to the diaspora cooking of Italians in Melbourne. It’s as yet unclear whether this is a temporary change to Spring, or a permanent move.
With a set menu at £30 a head, Gyngell hopes it will offer “something light, easy, and joyful ... When everything seems hard and difficult to navigate.” That straightforwardness is evident in a concise menu, featuring “a plate of San Daniele ham”; tagliatelle with cavolo nero; tiramisu ice cream and fragolina sorbet. A glass of wine or cordial is also included. It’s a turn away, both in style and price, from Spring’s usual style of pastel-coloured, artful plates with the substance of flavour to back them up, which made it one of London’s essential restaurants. In its pre-pandemic state, £30 would have bought little change from a main course, but a quiet reverence for fine produce — from the biodynamic farm Fern Verrow — and a studious elegance form a bridge between then and now. In a departure from that, there will also be crayons, with which to draw on paper tablecloths with reckless abandon.
It’s also Gyngell’s second adaptation, joining the outdoor ice cream pop-up that served beautiful sorbets, granitas, and Sicilian ice cream brioches throughout summer. She says that this one is a little more personal, both in its inspiration and its inception:
I’ve always harboured a dream of having a really paired back, democratic restaurant where everybody could enjoy organic food at a reasonable price. Now seemed as good a time as any to give it a go.
I’m also really aware that I need to keep a lot of really wonderful people in work including the farmers and all the people who work at Spring. We are just trying to survive and cook during this strange time.