After months of facing nothing but our own cooking and takeaways on the kitchen table, we’re thrilled to be heading out to restaurants once more. But which terrace to pick? And which restaurant to pre-book? What will we all be drinking this summer? And if I do ever stay in again, what’s new in tablescaping? Luckily, we’ve come to your aid with our one-stop guide to what’s new on the foodie scene, decoding what to buy, book and watch out for. Consider this your summer menu sorted.
IMAGE | BAR DES PRÉS
Throwing open its doors in May is Bar des Prés, a French delight designed by the the team behind the Dover Street Arts Club and helmed by French chef Cyril Lignac. Lignac, who made his name on French TV show Oui Chef and is a household name in Europe, has trained with the likes of Alain Passard and Pierre Hermé and has four always-fully-booked restaurants in Paris. At the London iteration, he’s planning a high-end menu including scallops with caramelised miso, crunchy crab galette and satay fillet steak, alongside inventive cocktails made with Yamazaki whisky and tonka beans. Of course, anyone who has trained with Pierre Hermé can be expected to do a brilliant pud and Lignac doesn’t disappoint: go for his take on French toast, or the vanilla and pecan praline mille-feuille.
Bar des Prés opens Saturday 22 May 2021 at 16 Albermarle Street, London, W1S 4HW
IMAGE | CORINTHIA LONDON IG
Under the current lockdown restrictions and with (hopefully) a warm summer looming, the hottest commodity in the restaurant world is an unbeatable terrace. The Garden at Corinthia London easily takes the top spot with its courtyard space, previously only open to the hotel’s celebrity and international clientele. Apart from the two retractable canopies and multiple heaters, which seamlessly accommodate a chilly British spring, the surroundings are full-on Mediterranean: think bougainvillea, candy-striped cushions and lemon trees. The cocktails are excellent (and also available to take away in bottles) but the absolute must-order is the lobster pizzette. If you missed out on an Italian holiday last year and are still miffed about it, consider this a more than worthy replacement.
The Garden at Corinthia London is open now at Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2BD
IMAGE | BUMBLEZEST
This summer, we’re planning to spend the majority of our free time basking in sunshine with friends, sipping on something a little more exciting (and a lot less hangover-inducing) than your average G&T. Enter the spiked seltzer: 2021’s biggest drinks trend. Boosted sparkling waters that pack an extra punch with added health benefits – think vitamins, probiotics and adaptogens – are set to be everywhere. Naturally, CBD has found its way into the mix through Bumblezest’s ginger and turmeric sparkling water. Unlike most brands, Bumblezest add generous doses of ingredients to their drinks, so you’ll really feel the calming properties. Adaptogens, usually used in herbal medicine to counteract the effects of stress in the body, are the basis for Droplet, a sparkling, stress-balancing drinks brand – scientifically backed and beautifully designed to boot. And if you’re into the idea but want something with a little more punch, try Fountain hard seltzers, which are made with a gluten-free fermented alcohol base and all-natural flavours – think Gwyneth Paltrow on a night out.
IMAGE | HACKNEY BRIDGE IG
Praises be for the revamp of Hackney Bridge, brought to us by the clever souls behind Peckham Levels and Pop Brixton. Eventually featuring workspaces, restaurants and events, for now it’s hosting Spring in the Courtyard: a collection of the best street food vans, from Hermanos Taco House to Da Fish Ting, alongside a bar with craft beer from local breweries. Book space in the courtyard for a relaxed version of alfresco dining, with all the choice you could imagine – and keep your eyes peeled in August, when many of the sellers will find a more permanent home at the new Hackney Bridge Kitchens.
Spring in the Courtyard is open now at Units 1-28, ECHO BUILDING, E Bay Lane, London, E15 2SJ
IMAGE | STANLEY'S IG
No one does classic British fare better than 25-year-old Liv Burt, head chef at Stanley’s in Chelsea and already an industry powerhouse. Following her first job at Joel Robuchon in Paris (casual), Liv went on to work at Claridge’s as sous chef and was a MasterChef: The Professionals finalist in 2019, as well as a finalist in The Roux Scholarship. Now, she’s lending her considerable talents to Hugh Stanley’s first restaurant just off the King’s Road, serving up beef tartare, sourdough crumpets with prawns and a supremely brilliant Earl Grey chocolate fondant.
Stanley’s is open now at 151 Sydney Street, London, SW3 6NT
IMAGE | JONATHAN HANSEN IG
No matter how tempting the restaurant scene, there’s a lot to be said for an excellent, home-cooked meal. If you’ve flexed your tablescaping skills through lockdown, consider adding the charming ceramics of Hot Pottery to your shopping list, along with some hand-painted candles from Bable. Keep the menu simple, tried and tested with unbeatable, home-made pasta, courtesy of the Marcato Atlas 150 pasta maker (in fancy navy blue, no less). And as for after-dinner coffee? We’re finding it hard to resist New York designer Jonathan Hansen’s collaboration with prized porcelain painter Marie Daâge on these blue-sky cups and saucers.