Wine & Food

    Terrace at Jurema, The Mandrake Hotel

    London’s best summer dining spots

    28 June 2019

    After a mediocre spring, summer is finally here. Just open up your weather app: a clean slate of golden suns – is there a more satisfying sight? So make the most of it with our round-up of the best outdoor dining spots in London:

    Grafton Arms, W1

    The Grafton Arms

    The Grafton Arms

    A short walk from Oxford Street and Soho, The Grafton Arms is a rustic gastropub with two secret weapons up its sleeve: a charming roof-terrace and a delicious pan-Asian menu covering every base from healthy to decadent. Opt for crisp gyoza or refreshing laksa soup, or brave the spicy Szechuan tofu – all washed down with a pretty decent wine-list. Perfect for that post-shopping recharge. And the stylish parasol-cover means you won’t be caught short if the rain returns.

    The Stafford, SW1

    The Stafford, St James, London

    Nestled in the heart of well-heeled St James, The Stafford is a private oasis tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city – where better for a spot of alfresco dining? There’s a seasonal BBQ menu throughout the year, while the American Bar offers Mediterranean-inspired dishes that function as a light bite or a decadent feast shared with friends. Watch the world go-by with an elegant cocktail on the secluded terrace, or come back after dark for a late-night brandy and fine cigar. High-living as its finest.

    The Summerhouse, W9

    Canal side dining at The Summerhouse

    When it comes to Little Venice – London’s refreshingly tourist-free canal district – not many establishments get you closer to the water than laid-back canal-side restaurant The Summerhouse. Offering everything from grilled swordfish to rock lobster, it’s a must visit for anyone who likes their seafood. Although fish-phobic types needn’t stay away: there’s an inspired mix of meat and vegetarian dishes too. Indulge at your leisure, waving to the passing barges, and then walk it off with a leisurely stroll to Regent’s Park. Lovely.

    Bōkan, E14

    Situated on top of a Novotel in Canary Wharf (two things that don’t exactly scream elegance), Bōkan is one of London’s underrated gems. Beginning on the thirty-seventh floor, it offers classy dining and cocktails at a much better price than the better-known roof-top restaurants – perfect for any visitors looking to see London from above without breaking the bank. The outdoor terrace on floor 39, which hosts Sunday jazz sessions, is currently home to a Hendrick’s Gin pop-up bar. Make the most of the weather by relaxing on their cushioned day-beds. Perfect for winding down the weekend.

    The Lighterman, N1

    Few parts of the capital have undergone as radical a makeover as Kings Cross: once the preserve of down-and-outs, Granary Square has been transformed into a hub of stylish restaurants, dining terraces and artisan street-food. The Lighterman is one of the highlights: a refreshingly unpretentious gastropub with a sprawling canal-side terrace. ‘How unpretentious?’, you ask. Well, their website says they’re open for ‘all-day drinking’ – a decadent offer if ever I heard one. Soak it up with a Sunday Roast and a splash of Eton Mess.

    Jurema Terrace (at the Mandrake Hotel), W1

    Terrace at Jurema, London (The Mandrake)

    Another one from Fitzrovia: the new Jurema Terrace at the Mandrake Hotel offers alfresco dining from lunch to dinner. With its South American snack menu, it’s perfect for ushering in the evening: try the seabass, avocado and raspberry ceviche; the black bean and sesame tacos; or nibble on the courgette flower tostadas with pickled jalapeno. Even the cocktails here have a kick. I’m curious about The Jalapeno, which blends tequila, its namesake pepper, and a sprinkling of chili salt. Two of those and the cheque please!

    Sky Garden, EC3

    The Sky Garden, London, EC3

    If views are your thing, why not go the whole hog with London’s highest public garden? The Sky Garden – one of the most ambitious public spaces in London – offers a 360-degree view across the financial City (and beyond), with open-air terraces which need to be seen to be believed. With expertly-curated gardens, you’re guaranteed to see colours and blossom all year around – although you’d best book now if you’re thinking about Valentine’s Day. A selection of restaurants and bars – on levels 35 to 37 – means there should be something here for everyone.