The daffodils are blooming, crème eggs are everywhere and we’ve already been promised the hottest Easter on record. As the days get longer and lunch breaks get warmer we’ve turned our attention to the best spots London has to offer to snatch a bit of that early springtime sun.
An ode to meat - W36 is a salute to all things beef, showcasing the best of British cuisine, from the same people that brought you Beach Blanket Babylon. Expect super steaks, burgers, slow-cooking, and BBQ food. This traditional grillhouse will be open from breakfast until late, seven days a week; serving brunches, lunches, dinner and roasts. There's a cocktail lounge that doubles as a destination bar, an outdoor fire-pit for some late evening alfresco dining and a garden-grill and terraces that are bound to be a huge hit in the summer.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Eelbrook deserves to be on the best summer sun list with common-side seating its main feature. But with fold-back doors and sprawling heated terrace we beg to differ. The menu is distinctly British with a focus on the seasons meaning you can enjoy spring and eat it all at the same time. Try the Sea Bream Carpaccio with the infamously seasonal blood orange and sea purslane. To bag a bargain go for the weekday set lunch, a snip at £12.95 for two courses.
The first thing you need to know about Bonnie Gull’s Seafood Shack in Fitzrovia is it’s South-facing which means even more spring sunshine for even more of the day. The second thing you need to know is their daily changing lunch menu starts with a host of seasonal sharing plates from salt cod scotch eggs to Isle of Uist cockles. We insist you sit in the sun, we do not insist you share.
Spoilt for choice No32 offers not only street-side dining but also a first floor terrace where olive trees abound. The wine list will help transport you to warmer climates, chose the Picpoul, my go-to for that South of France feeling or push the boat our and order the Chateau Riotor if you don’t mind sipping rose in your coat. Here, comfort food abounds in inspired dishes like the Chicken and Chorizo Schnitzel or the Taleggio and Avocado on Sourdough and it’s rude not to try something from the excellent pud menu.
This canal-side bar/restaurant/art gallery/events space in Haggerston is perfect for springtime sun. Not only is it south-facing but it’s outdoor tables are shielded from the elements protecting you from that nippy spring air. These guys know their cocktails, have Meantime on tap and the tasty food has a farm-to-plate focus. So settle yourself on a bench, order a jug, breathe a sigh of relief and watch the virtuous joggers run on past.
Some people like their burgers with a dollop of ketchup, I like mine with a big ol’ dollop of sunshine. Bobo’s modest terrace means you need to get in there early but be reassured, the reward comes in the form of rare-breed beef patties cooked over single species charcoal. I like the Debauchery (read into that what you will) with confit shitaki, shaved truffle and THAT bacon mayo. Wash it down with a cocktail and some beef dripping fries before you roll back to your desk.
Conveniently located overlooking the Tower of London, the Perkin Reveller boasts a handcrafted deck with feasting tables and outdoor cushions, the carefully placed fire pits ensuring you stay longer than you probably should and you definitely will. The restaurant is part of the Historic Royal Palaces so head for the Royal Afternoon Tea if you can swing it or settle for a sun-downer in the form of the Rhubarb and Custard, we first tried this at GinStock years ago, the fact it’s still on the menu is testament to how good it is.
This speciality Balkan ‘no-frills’ restaurant focuses on feasting and mezze style dishes. The menu changes daily but for an authentic experience go for the offal based dishes alongside classic flatbreads and dips. At Saturday lunchtime diners are invited to BYO with one rule – no supermarket wine. As a champion of small wine merchants and producers ourselves we applaud you Peckham Bazaar and we’ll have seconds of the walnut and pistachio baklava while we’re at it. The outdoor seating is limited but we know we had you at BYO.
Boundary’s a little bit of a behemoth - with three restaurants and bars, 12 guest bedrooms, five suites, a little shop and bakery, it’s difficult to miss this East London offering from Terence Conran. Once a Victorian warehouse, care has been taken to maintain the original features whilst drawing inspiration from international designers (most notably in the bedrooms). The jewel in the crown is the all year round rooftop restaurant, draped in luscious vines, with its own Mediterranean menu. Food is executed to the highest standard and the service is an absolute treat.
Soho veteran, Dean Street Townhouse, has its history firm in the archives. In previous incarnations, it was a favourite of Fred Astaire and Lucien Freud. These days you’ll find the creative types soaking up the afternoon sun on the terrace long after it’s set and kicking back with brunch in the arty dining room. The long marble bar is great for drinks and breakfast pastries (irresistible, sorry) while the booths towards the back and the round tables in the old library lend a little more atmosphere. The food leans towards English classics, from the slightly unappetisingly named mince and potatoes to a Roast Banham chicken with sage and onion stuffing. As an extra bonus, the rooms upstairs are lovely if you feel you just can’t make it home tonight.
Rotisserie chicken is the name of the game here, but battle away that image of your local kebab shop as this is in an entirely different, completely incomparable league of its own and one which is steeping in history. Any reservations about the expedition over to Canary Wharf are long gone, infact they had promptly abandoned me the moment you step through the door. The service is exemplary and it is with tremendous satisfaction that you can add another restaurant to your list of excellent gems. Tucked away from the towering offices, Le Secret Rotisseurs remains somewhat of a secret itself but one which we're am glad to share. Whether it’s for dinner with the family or a romantic treat for a loved one, I urge you all to consider escaping for a little taste of France and perhaps some of the finest chicken in London. They even do takeaway if al-desko dining is more your style. You never know, perhaps they’ll let you in on their secret!
The Albion is a perfect gastropub, serving up award-winning food to Islington locals. With its cosy interior and wisteria adorned beer garden, The Albion provides the ideal setting for a lazy Sunday afternoon whatever the weather. The menu features traditional British fare but it’s the Sunday roasts that have given The Albion it’s claim to fame – winning the Observer Food Monthly award for Best Sunday lunch in 2009. There is a seasonal element to the menu, which in the summer, features a wide range of meat, fish and vegetables cooked fresh on their barbecue. The Albion also offer a whole suckling pig for 10-15 people, perfect for a special occasion and not something you often find on offer from a traditional gastropub.