Al Fresco Dining in London

Sunday, August 3, 2014 1

W

e have been having a rather prolonged and lovely summer this year. It’s been hot for so long that I’ve started almost taking it for granted now. There are a 100 articles out there about outdoor seating, rooftop bars and beer gardens, which is great, but the truth of the matter is that they are invariably incredibly crowded as everyone else has had the same idea. So you try to queue for the latest pop up, only to give up and head for the nearest green space where you find yourself a tiny spare bit of grass, bumping elbows with a sweaty stranger.

This happened to me last week when I met a friend after work, “the weather is lovely”, she said, “how about a rooftop bar?”. After some debate we settled on the One New Change Roof Terrace, due to its excellent view of St Paul’s Cathedral and a convenient location for us both. We got there around 6pm on a Wednesday afternoon, not exactly Saturday night, only to be faced with an extremely long queue of people waiting in front of the ground floor lift. “I wonder what is going on”, my friend said, “Must be some sort of event”.

I went to the front of the queue and asked a girl that somehow managed to pull off this season’s ubiquitous crop top flawlessly, what she is waiting for. She gave me a very unimpressed look, “The lift?” the ‘duh’ was silent, but heavily implied. “Ok,” I said, “but why?”

“To get on the roof!”

Yeah.

“Right, change of plans, methinks.” (I didn’t actually say methinks, does anyone ever say that out loud?!)

My friend and I had been to a Museum of London Lates event not too far back so it came to both of us, like an epiphany! The Museum of London’s forbidding looking concrete wall hides a secret garden and a restaurant with a number of outdoor tables overlooking the garden, and most importantly, space! It’s a corner of serenity amongst the vast glass buildings and serves large portions of comfort food, from lovely looking pizzas to the mac and cheese, which I picked.

(If there had been no tables, we would have then tried the Barbican’s outdoor space, which I love despite its concrete fountains and overpriced cakes.)

That same friend had previously introduced me to the wonders of Victoria Park. Now, I’d been there before, a couple of times, but without finding the lovely lake where you can hire a boat or a pedalo or sit in one of The Pavilion Cafe’s chairs overlooking the water. It’s a café that serves organic fare amongst beautiful surroundings. We turned up on a wonderfully sunny Sunday and were still able to grab two of the premium view seats, try that in Hyde Park! As this was a post lunch venture I only tried the peanut butter cookie and iced coffee, but am looking forward to returning soon to try the seriously good looking lunch or breakfast offerings.

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