Book review: The Garden Museum Café - A Year in the Kitchen

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Book review: The Garden Museum Cafe - A Year in the Kitchen

Related tags: Cookbook, Chef

Chef George Ryle’s self-published debut cookbook features a selection of fresh, seasonal recipes straight out of the kitchen of his Garden Museum Café in south London.

Two years in the making, chef George Ryle’s self-published debut cookbook offers an affectionate and deeply personal behind the scenes look at his Garden Museum Café in south London.

Ryles, whose CV includes stints at London neighbourhood restaurant Primeur and Jordan Frieda and Tim Siadatan’s Padella, launched the restaurant in 2017 with his friend and fellow chef, Harry Kauffman (previously of St John Bread & Wine and Lyles). Set within the historic Garden Museum in Lambeth, the Café has received acclaim for the pair’s hearty, produce-led approach and contemporary seasonal cooking that combines elements of both modern-British and European dining.

This very much carries through to A Year in the Kitchen​, which is broken down between the four seasons, with four recipes for each section. Spring, naturally, emphasises fresher, brighter flavours with recipes including poached chicken with asparagus, Jersey Royals and wild garlic, and cold rice pudding with poached rhubarb; while summer indulges in pared back, produce-focused dishes like skate with samphire and gooseberries; and pork chop with white beans, girolles and sage. Autumn features an emphasis on game with a recipe for roast partridge with salsify, sprout tops and pancetta; while winter shoots for the rich, heartier fare of braised beef cheeks and Jansson’s temptation; and dark chocolate, kumquats and creme fraiche.

At just 81 pages in total, A Year in the Kitchen​ is small in stature, but Ryle uses the limited space well. Each recipe is accompanied with a personal note from the chef to explain his inspiration behind the dish, alongside the cooking instructions. Plenty of time is also spent championing some of the restaurant’s main suppliers including Swaledale, Flying Fish and Natoora.

Particularly for fans of the restaurant, this is a cookbook that offers a passionate insight into Ryle's dish development in the Garden Museum Café, capturing the creative rigour of the kitchen with plenty of vim and zeal.

Author:​ George Ryle
Number of pages:​ 81
Must try dish:​ Roast partridge with salsify, sprout tops and pancetta
Publisher and price:​ Garden Museum, £20

Related topics: Trends & Reports

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