Why The Lawn was Cut

Criticism of restaurateur's service and prices

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Fulham Palace

Pryors Bank Cafe

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Hammersmith and Fulham Council has revealed that it did not object when restaurateur Oliver Peyton decided to walk away from Fulham Palace last December.

Peyton's restaurant The Lawn had a stunning setting in the palace grounds and excellent cuisine, but says the council, local residents increasingly felt that prices were too high and the service too patchy.

I can vouch for that myself, having visited The Lawn last summer for afternoon tea with a friend. We found the service was friendly but haphazard, the scones had either sold out or never arrived in the first place, and all they could offer us was a single slice of chocolate cake to share. When it finally appeared, the bill was eye-wateringly high.

Now the cafe has reverted to its origins as the Drawing Room Cafe, and is now being operated on a temporary licence by Fait Maison, the company which also runs the popular cafe in Ravenscourt Park.

Under Fait Maison the Drawing Room Cafe is serving home-made pastries and light lunches, which have proved so popular with residents opening hours have been extended  to 10am to 4pm daily.


Meanwhile, the council is hunting for a permanent operator who will take over the cafe in the summer. Says Cllr Frances Stainton, cabinet member for Culture and Heritage, says: " The tendering process is in full swing. We are looking for good affordable prices, good service and charm, so that residents and visitors alike can have a lovely experience while at Fulham Palace."

In adjacent Bishops Park meanwhile, outdoor eaters have a choice of two cafes - the Teahouse in the centre of the park, which has been refurbished and has reopened as a coffee shop, and Pryors Bank Cafein the gardens by Putney Bridge.

Pryors Bank Cafe is an initiative from the Oswald Stoll Foundation, which benefits former homeless ex-Servicemen and women by getting them back into a working environment through its unique apprenticeship scheme.

It is open every day from 9am to 5.30pm except for Sundays when it opens at 12.30pm, serving breakfast, light lunches, morning coffee and afternoon tea - all at very reasonable prices.

April 14, 2009