FOOD • July 2019
Time for an outdoor bite? From minimalist courtyards in the heart of the city to riverside terraces that make you feel you’ve escaped it altogether, London’s alfresco eateries thrive come summer – so The Club team set out to find the very best for the season
Says who: Charlotte Swift, Club group editor
In the 1680s, cattle trading was the activity of choice in Shepherd Market. A century later, architect Edward Shepherd set to work gentrifiying the area and creating homes for the well-to-do. Today, cloistered between the hubbub of Piccadilly and Park Lane, Shepherd Market is a sanctuary of bijou shops, barbers and fabulous restaurants. Among them, Kitty Fisher’s. This intimate estabilishment is understandably flush with awards. Here, the usually humble Welsh rarebit is a sublime bite of toasted sourdough smothered in oozing Montgomery Cheddar, topped with preserved chilli rings. A delicious salt lick in the form of pig jowl croquettes is perfectly balanced with sweet apricot ketchup, while the rose veal fillet was tender and flavourful. Book today – with only a handful of tables on the cobbled area out front, they’re sure to be in high demand.
Honourable mention: In neighbouring Chelsea, mix culture and cuisine at the Saatchi Gallery. After a jaunt around their latest exhibition, nab a table on the terrace overlooking the chic garden square for a long lunch or afternoon tea. The indoor dining area will come in handy if it’s looking like an unpredictable British summer’s day.
Says who? Hannah Ralph, Club content editor
Dubbed the Haggerston Riviera, this stretch of Regent’s Canal in Hackney’s hipster heartland is the place to be on a balmy evening, shades on and G&T already in hand. The Barge House, a high-ceilinged haunt dripping in fairy lights and rustic wooden furnishings, is the best suntrap on the strip. While locals scramble for its Insta-famous brunch, go for the fresh-faced à la carte menu - the asparagus, served with a butter-yellow yolk, truffle and parmesan, was heavenly, as was the braised lamb with creamy, mint-green tahini. If you're sharing, try one of the hugely succulent charcuterie boards - perfect for nibbling away those sun-soaked evenings.
Honourable mention: Marylebone’s trendiest kitchen, Carousel. While its airy outdoor garden remains consistently charming (and available for sunny small-plate lunches on Fridays and Saturdays), come evening, hand-picked chefs from across the world drop-by to cook regional-inspired tasting menus to a considered foodie crowd. Book here for the next residency by Mexican chef and champion of simplicity, Emmanuel Prieto.
Says who? Rob Ball, Club account manager
Anyone who’s strolled around Richmond Park, taken off guard by herds of pottering deer, knows this leafy London district is something special. Befitting then that it should have such a stand-out venue as the characterful Bingham Riverhouse. The terrace restaurant is separated from the ebbing Thames by a romantic wrought-iron balcony and well-manicured garden, the perfect setting to enjoy chef Andrew Cole’s seasonally inspired menu. Torched salmon, crisp pork belly and a tart rhubarb trifle feel as summery as you can get, while on ground level, amid the topiary, it’s all about the barbecues: just make sure to ring ahead to find out when the grill’s in action.
Honourable mention: If you’d rather be in the thick of it, try Harry’s Bar off Oxford Street. Relax in a jaunty striped chair and order the ‘Harry’s Toadstool’, a sweet-toothed treat of white chocolate, raspberry, iced vanilla parfait and pistachio.
Says who? Club contributing editor, Ross Clarke
We’ve all been there, in the office dreaming of sun-streaked evenings on Spanish Costas, sharing fresh food and great wine on glorious outdoor terraces. Thankfully, the team behind London’s tapas stalwart, Barrafina, has brought the age-old Mediterranean alfresco concept to London’s King’s Cross. Parrillan, the do-it-yourself grill and tapas terrace overlooking the nouveau food destination, Coal Drop’s Yard, lets its diners cook a selection of meat, fish and veggies (think 50-day-aged rump steak, scallops, artichokes…) over their table-top charcoal grill. Chef Angel Zapata Martin’s complementary menu of sides and sauces only adds to the fun, with DIY pan con tomate, and mojo sauces typical of the Canary Islands. Then its time for the great Catalan tradition of sobremesa, the time after a meal to drink, digest and divulge.
Honourable mention: Fans of small plates should also stop by Flat Iron Yard’s (now a staple foodie haunt near London Bridge) Bar Douro. Grab a stool on the outside terrace’s barrel tables and order a white port and tonic to wash down a serving of Portuguese pataniscas de bacalhau (salt cod fritters).
Says who? Rebecca Naylor, Club picture editor
With Virginia Woolf’s heroine as its namesake, Dalloway Terrace fits right into the literary Bloomsbury scene. Poetic in name and nature, this charming indoor-outdoor space is a stone’s throw from bustling Oxford Street, yet feels utterly secluded with its fully retractable roof and hedge-lined lower terrace. The terrace’s charms are the main attraction – adorned with a blanket of tropical flowers, French bistro chairs nestled beneath marble table tops. The menu has a real spring in its step, too – my starter, asparagus with runny duck egg, and cauliflower steak main course, were exquisite. But do leave room for dessert: the chocolate and raspberry fondant is to die for, especially when washed down with a tropical negroni (or two).
Honourable mention: Sticking with west London, Rail House Café in Victoria has comfy sofa seating smattered in cushions, meaning you can still snuggle up outside with rosemary fries and fizzy cocktails when those warm nights turn cool.