London Reopens… where to eat (outside) next week!

As anticipation for next week’s reopening of shops, hairdressers and restaurant terraces rises I have put together a list of a few al fresco dining spots not to be missed. I’ve had a huge number of questions from social media followers asking where to book, and many of these suggestions below are already getting full, but hopefully, if you are flexible on dates and times, you can snag a spot at one of this Spring’s hottest (outdoor) tables! My one request… if you book and need to cancel please let the restaurant know in good time so their resources aren’t wasted, especially after the struggle they have experienced over the last year.

The Berkeley Beach Huts – The beautiful Berkeley Hotel has set the standard high for themed al fresco dining in the last year. This season they have brought their terrace to life with fun, colourful beach huts inspired by Britain’s most iconic seafronts. The menu has an array of nostalgic treats from Lobster and Chips to a ‘Gourmet 99’ (a twist on the ice-cream van favourite).

Cora Pearl – I was pretty excited to hear some of my favourite London eateries were bravely branching out with outdoor spaces for April. This cosy Covent Garden establishment serves up indulgent British fare. Their terrace on Henrietta Street will have tables for up to 6 people and will be offering seasonal delights, and the usual favourites like their unrivalled Welsh Rarebit.

Brat – Tomos Parry’s Michelin star, Basque inspired food is unbeatable on a sunny day. The restaurant will be continuing their residency at Climpson’s Arch throughout 2021, after last year’s sellout success. The courtyard is covered (for unpredictable weather) and the team will be supplying the much loved hearty food from Roasted Chicken Rice, Whole crab with hay butter and Wood Fired Breads.

The River Cafe – I can’t think of a more idyllic place to eat outside than The River Cafe. Despite the size of their expansive terrace tables are getting full fast. Enjoy the most delicious homemade pastas, finest meats and gelato and forget Covid even existed.

Petersham Nurseries – Whether you are based in West London or Central, Petersham Nurseries is a great option for relaxed delicious dining. The leafy Richmond site feels like a countryside sanctuary while the Covent Garden site has a heavenly terrace for long lunches surrounded by florals.

Llewelyns – South London dwellers are sure to flock to Llewelyns which returns this April with their jolly outdoor terrace. I can’t wait to be back at this lovely neighbourhood eatery, the service, food and atmosphere is always wonderful and I’ve missed it during lockdown.

Smokestak – Smokestak in Shoreditch has a sizeable and well-heated terrace, perfect for those hoping to get their BBQ meat fix. The Smokestak home kit was one of my favourites so I can’t wait to return to the restaurant to feast on brisket buns and fries.

Lina Stores Kings Cross – I can’t wait to spend a day out of lockdown wandering round the shops at Coal Drops Yard and eating on the expansive terrace at Lina Stores. Toast freedom with an Aperol Spritz and a plate of homemade pasta, or two.

Juliets – It may be my local brunch place, but Juliets in Tooting is truly worth the journey for those who don’t live nearby. With a makeshift outdoor space at the cocktail bar over the road, you can finally enjoy the best brunch in town (don’t miss the Vadouvan Eggs, Sweet Maria fritters and Weekend Sourdough Waffles) on a real plate.

Davies and Brook – A new Davies and Brook terrace will be welcoming guests from the 13th April (weather dependant). It is an opportunity to try much-lauded favourites like the Claridge’s Fried Chicken and the ‘Humm Dog’, while enjoying the best service and beautiful surroundings of Claridge’s Hotel. An extra special treat we all deserve right now.

For more suggestions head to my friend Luke Abrahams’s piece on London terraces opening next week here.

Lockdown 3 – Deliveries for a Special Night In

The end is in sight, but with a few months of lockdown dining still on the cards, here are a few of my recent favourites to ensure you bring the best restaurant experiences to your home.

Occasions by Hakkasan

Occasions by Hakkasan – Chinese food is one of the cuisines I have missed the most during lockdown, as it is not easy to recreate at home without specialist ingredients and extensive knowledge. So I was delighted to try the Occasions by Hakkasan box… the box contains everything you need to recreate Hakkasan’s iconic dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen, including a dim sum steamer and incense to recreate the fragrance of Hakkasan at home. (£175 for two)

Starchefs

StarChefs – As the name suggests this company brings the best, Michelin-starred chefs to your door. Recent boxes have featured menus by Robin Gill and Tom Aikens, who created four course feasts to finish in your kitchen, with minimum effort but maximum enjoyment. (around £165 for two)

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

Hélène Darroze a la Maison – Hélène Darroze’s restaurant at The Connaught has recently been awarded the highest accolade of three Michelin stars, so never has there been a better time to try her sublime culinary creations. This changing seasonal menu for home delivery features some of her signature dishes, all packaged in concertina boxes which ensure the plating at home is just as pretty as it would be at the restaurant itself. (£195 for two, with some optional supplements).

Antona at Home

Antona at Home – Bringing the distinguished food of Andreas Antona to your home, the recipes feature the best seasonal ingredients, high welfare meat and sustainable seafood, and draw on his experiences from Michelin kitchens – Simpsons in Edgbaston and The Cross at Kenilworth. You can also order exclusive wines to pair with your meal. (£90-110 for two people)

Mr Wilde

Mr Wilde – Perhaps the most stylish box of food to arrive at my door, Mr. Wilde provide you with everything you need for a super fun and tasty night in, from playlist ideas to game suggestions, even a couple of chocolates to end your meal. Choose from a range of irresistible boxes including Indian Banquet, Roast Chicken, Tokyo Nights, or opt for the Steak Night, which I can’t recommend highly enough. (approx £47 for two).

Tramshed

Tramshed Project – The Tramshed Project Feasts are nourishing and delicious in equal measure. A generous box of appetising dishes to finish quickly at home. I absolutely loved the lamb box I tried, complete with salted caramel tart for dessert. (from £65 for two)

Dinner Ladies

Dinner Ladies – Dinner Ladies is a dynamic London-based food and events company dedicated to providing seasonal, sustainable food packed with unforgettable flavour. Their food is fresh, interesting and globally inspired, so I was delighted to hear they had started offering home deliveries. The Middle Eastern feast box has an array of flavoursome and colourful dishes to excite your tastebuds and test your cheffing skills, and is brilliant value for money. (£49 for two)

Simon Rogan at Home

Simon Rogan at Home – The Simon Rogan at Home boxes are a rare opportunity to try some of this chef’s inspired flavours from the comfort of your own home. With nationwide delivery, it’s easy to see why these beautiful boxes of food sell out so fast. The three course menu changes weekly, recently featuring Rogan classics like the caramelised apple dessert. You can also order from Simon Rogan’s Aulis delivery service.(from £90 for two)

Jamavar

Jamavar – Mayfair’s finest Indian food to be enjoyed at home… authentic, full of flavour and spice! Choose from one of the restaurant’s celebration menus to try a delicious selection of their favourite dishes. (from £50 for two)

Norma at Home

Norma at Home – Ben Tish’s Sicilian restaurant Norma offers gourmet comfort food at its very best. The feasting boxes feature plenty to feed two very generously, from fresh foccacia bread to homemade pastas, wholesome meat dishes and sweet Italian treats (like cannoli) for pudding. (£140 for two)

A Weekend in Herefordshire

Travel right now is not easy, I am craving it desperately, but for the foreseeable future will be concentrating on exploring the best of Britain. Herefordshire is a county that I knew very little about, sandwiched between Shropshire to the north, Worcestershire to the east, Gloucestershire to the south-east, and Wales to the west. So when I was invited to explore its burgeoning independent food and drink scene I was intrigued and excited.

Herefordshire

Despite the relentless rain we trundled down the motorway, just 4 hours even in rush hour Friday traffic. Visit Herefordshire arranged a great itinerary for me, ticking off key restaurants, pubs and artisan makers across the county.

Herefordshire

First stop was Hereford, a cathedral town in the heart of the region. We were staying at the Green Dragon Hotel, charming accommodation that was a quiet and comfortable place to spend the night. Breakfast next morning was served downstairs in the light and airy dining room, a range of fresh seasonal dishes, including delicious mushrooms on toast, and granola with homemade berry compote.

Herefordshire

There are quite a few eateries in Hereford worth trying, The Bookshop was one which everyone raved about, thanks to their great steaks and lively atmosphere. We had a great dinner here, the service was super friendly and the meat was noticeably of a high quality (you must try Hereford beef while visiting Herefordshire). We stopped by The Bookshop the next morning too for a coffee (they use the superior beans from local roastery, Method) and the brunch looked very tempting too.

Herefordshire

After a brief walk around town, seeing the iconic cathedral and stopping by a couple of foodie shops (I recommend Fodder for bread & pastries, Mousetrap for local cheeses, and Sensory & Rye for coffee or brunch), we were on our way to our next destination…

Pensons is the only restaurant in Herefordshire to hold a Michelin star, which it was proudly awarded last year, less than a year after opening. Head chef Chris Simpson previously worked for Nathan Outlaw, and brings skill and a lightness of touch to the dishes at Pensons. The restaurant benefits from being located on the Netherwood Estate, which is surrounded by green pastures. There is also a bountiful kitchen garden which grows many of the vegetables and fruit you’ll find on your plate at Pensons! We devoured the three course lunch menu, memorable dishes included perfectly cooked Plaice with cauliflower, watercress and crab sauce, and Duck with beetroot and blackcurrant.

Herefordshire

At Pensons we tried a delicious apple mocktail, and learnt a little about the incredible apples of the area. So it seemed fitting to visit Little Pomona next, craft cider makers who are producing some wonderfully refined drinks with the famous Herefordshire apples. Autumn is apple picking season and to celebrate Visit Herefordshire have created two great cider trails (The Cider Circuits) as part of their #madforapples initiative. The self-guided routes, both around 50 miles long, can be followed by bike or car and are named after two of the county’s apple varieties: The Newton Wonder heads north from Hereford, while The Redstreak heads south. Glorious Little Pomona features on the southern route.

Herefordshire

Herefordshire is known for its striking black and white architecture which we were lucky to spy in many of the towns we drove through… Bromyard was a great place to admire the monochrome houses, and whilst in the area Bringsty Vintage shop is worth a visit for retro homeware and trinkets.

Herefordshire

As the rain worsened we headed to Crumplebury, a lovely luxurious event space, with restaurant and rooms, surrounded by woodland, fields and animals.

Crumplebury has just reopened for the season and we were delighted to be one of the first to be back at this idyllic place. At the heart of the property is Green Cow Kitchens, the on site fine dining restaurant. We enjoyed a lavish dinner here before a very restful night’s sleep in The Oakley Suite, the most spacious and decadent suite Crumplebury offer. The room was decorated to a very high specification with modern amenities, a giant bed and a copper bathtub to ensure the most relaxing of stays.

Herefordshire

We also had a chance to see some of the beautiful event spaces and wholesome wildlife, which is used seasonally in the restaurant. Crumplebury is a brilliant option for weddings and work functions, an isolated countryside escape with a five star feel.

Herefordshire

Next morning we woke refreshed and revitalised, and after a quick but very tasty Crumplebury breakfast we headed off for a final morning of exploring.

We drove South towards Ross on Wye, for a hearty Sunday lunch at The Greenman, the celebrated pub in Fownhope. A generous roast awaited, with all the trimmings, the perfect sustenance before a local walk and the drive back home to London.

Herefordshire is the ideal weekend escape from London… an array of foodie spots are dotted amongst the verdant and gloriously green countryside, so you can both eat handsomely and get a breath of fresh air before returning to busy city life.

In collaboration with Visit Herefordshire.