Le Cordon Bleu, the world’s oldest and most renowned culinary school, has a wonderful little café with a pretty courtyard on Bloomsbury Square, where you can escape the bustle of London and retreat to a little (almost!) corner of Paris for a moment or two. There’s a range of artisan bread baked on site, delicious viennoiseries, entremets (a type of dessert), salads and gourmet sandwiches plus soups and chefs’ daily specials. It’s all very French… in London!
PERFECT FOR… lunch in the city
Dalloway Terrace in Bloomsbury has been transformed into a luscious Sri Lankan jungle oasis with silk flora and fauna. An Instagrammer’s dream, this leafy haven in London’s literary centre has been inspired by Leonard Woolf’s novel, The Village in the Jungle. There’s a botanical cocktail menu, a Sri Lankan inspired afternoon tea with mango and coriander tart, pink peppercorn meringue, and lychee and coconut cake plus sandwiches and traditional scones. .
PERFECT FOR… girly tea
If, like me, your rosé wine has to be from Provence, then the gorgeous terrace at St Ermin’s Hotel in St James’ is the place to be this summer. The pretty pale pink nectar can be sipped or quaffed by the glass, by the bottle, by the flight, or in a section of frozen cocktails. An inspired menu of Provençal dishes using ingredients from the hotel’s rooftop garden complements the delicious rosés. There are chickpea fries with roquefort dip, black olive & anchovy pizza and sharing plates with French cheeses and grilled vegetables.
PERFECT FOR… wine o’clock
The Summerhouse in Maida Vale has long been my favourite summer venue, and the nautical theme always makes me feel as though I’m on holiday. On hot days, the sides open up to expose the canal it overlooks; on cooler ones they are down, but the view is the same. The menu bursts with summery fish dishes and other tempting treats such as risotto primavera and Eton Mess – the ultimate summer dessert. The whole baked seabass to share is a must.
PERFECT FOR… dinner with friends
Ayos in St Albans keeps it in the family – it is run by three brothers and named after their great-grandfather. They serve up delicious Kurdish and Turkish food – freshly made kebabs, meze, cold and hot starters. The 25-seater terrace is really popular in warmer weather and almost (kind of) makes you feel as though you could be eating in Turkey!
PERFECT FOR… family outing
ULI in Notting Hill serves a curated range of Chinese, Thai, Malay and Singaporean dishes on a huge, timber fenced terrace that’s a cleverly designed extension of the interior space. There’s even a retractable roof so you can enjoy your summertime fare come rain or shine. Pescatarians and vegetarians will love the summer noodle salad with ginger and garlic dressing, and sea bass, noodle, cucumber, mint and coriander salad. I’m heading there for a Japanese Bellini, a sparkling combo of jasmine tea and prosecco.
PERFECT FOR… Saturday night
Turkish food is just so… summery! If you’ve been to Golders Geen recently, you’ll have seen the large, beautifully-decorated restaurant HOSH, a name derived from the Turkish words for ‘welcome’ and ‘pleasant’. As you would expect, there are hot and cold mezes, pides, and lots of grills done over hot charcoal, plus several veggie options.
PERFECT FOR… Sunday lunch
There’s a great new kosher concept in Borehamwood. Bricky’s is changing up what you would normally expect from a kosher meaty restaurant, serving up summery street food alongside ‘bowls’, burgers and New York Deli sandwiches. The advent of parev cheeses means that you can have your meaty taco and beefy burrito with melted cheese and eat it! Bricky’s will be constantly ringing the changes – expect Asian-inspired dishes later this year.
PERFECT FOR… keeping it kosher
Deep in the heart of Mayfair, Hush sits in a divine little courtyard with tables and chairs outside under a canopy. There are heaters and blankets for chillier days, and the courtyard is decorated for the summer with flowers in a riot of colours. With cocktails in hand (I can recommend Flower Power Frosé and Summer Shrub) get feasting on tagliatelle cacio e pepe with truffles, miso blackened cod, parmesan courgette fries and crispy rice patties with spicy tuna tartare. I defy you to resist the deconstructed lemon meringue pie, but be warned – it’s big enough for six! As it gets dark, little twinkly fairy lights come on, making this the perfect spot for magical summer nights.
PERFECT FOR… date night
Ooh La La!
If you’re hopping across the Channel this summer, check out Molitor, the iconic Parisian hotel just outside the city. It has a magnificent open-air roof terrace and restaurant with stunning views across the city, with the Eiffel Tower on the horizon. It also overlooks Molitor’s famous Art Deco outdoor pool. Lush greenery and tropical plants give the space the feeling of a garden in the sky. Music and cocktail evenings take place every weekend, with DJs taking to the decks as the sun goes down.
PERFECT FOR… summer in another city