- Posted by Julia Burns
- On May 17, 2021
- Eating Out, London, Restaurants
by BSS members
Londoners have had to wait longer than Madrileños to relive the joys of al fresco eating. But here are some hopeful tips for residents and visitors.
A Market for All Seasons
Before it moved back across the river to Bracken House, the Financial Times office on Southwark Bridge, was a 5 minute walk from Borough Market near London Bridge, making it the perfect place to grab some tasty al fresco lunch, writes Amy Bell. Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea, and so did the tourists – all packed in under the dark green roof, shuffling along slowly.
Impatient, I would try to nip past them – ducking and sidestepping – to get to what I wanted: hot, smoky chorizo and rocket stuffed into a ciabatta roll from the Brindisa stand or a more expansive Spanish blow out at its nearby tapas restaurant ; or a giant cheese toastie from Kappacasein; other days a crunchy fish finger sandwich from Fish. If I was feeling generous, some Curly Wurly cake from Konditor & Cook to take back to the office to share; or perhaps a warm crispy doughnut bursting with jam from Bread Ahead to greedily eat myself.
Crowds spilled out into the streets, into the nearby church gardens on sunny days, chatting and laughing and eating. Most often if I was with a couple of colleagues, we would find a tiny bit of pavement to squeeze onto while we batted away pigeons, chatted and tried not to get sauces and crumbs all over our clothes. I can’t say I miss the crowds – or the pigeons – but I miss the hustle and bustle of it all, and can’t wait to get back to all that delicious market food and sharing it outside with friends.
Beer garden Nirvana on the Thames
As we emerge from what seemed like an endless winter, marked by two national lockdowns, the onset of spring brings justified optimism that brighter day lie ahead in every sense, writes John Kennedy. With the easing of restrictions, we can look forward to meeting with friends, and families, in person rather than virtually. What better way to do this than in a quintessential English pub beer garden by the Thames – London’s greatest amenity.
As an avid walker and cyclist along the Thames Path for many year; one riverside beer garden stands out;
The Black Lion, where the beautiful historic stretches of Hammersmith and Chiswick riverside converge.
The Black Lion has been in existence since 1754. Like all the best historic London pubs, it has a ghost story. James Millward, a bricklayer who was accidentally shot in 1803 by a drunken patron, allegedly haunts the building. Its huge magical beer garden is surrounded by trees that have been there since the pub was built.
Whether it be in the shade of the historic trees, or the sun- trap; the garden is the perfect place to enjoy a real ale, cold beer, aperol spritz, a glass of Verdejo or Rioja, while we have these delayed all important face-to-face catch-ups in a post pandemic world.
In the beer garden you will be joined by the wonderful mix of people that make a London riverside pub a special experience: locals, people walking or cycling the Thames Path, rowers, sailors, mudlarkers, artists, bon viveurs, celebrities (major and minor), and perhaps by a few members of the BritishSpanish Society.
The magic of Battersea Park
The English capital is not only multi-cultural but also full of green spaces as its popular and much loved Battersea Park exemplifies, writes Jimmy Burns. Few locations can boast being the setting of a legendary duel fought by the first Duke of Wellington, the site of the first game ever played of association football, one of the Jamaican musician Bob Marley’s favourite outdoor pursuits, and where a resident Buddhist monk has for years been lovingly looking after a Peace Pagoda. It also has a lovely Tea Terrace with delicious cakes, and a similarly popular lake-side Pear Tree Cafe, with convivial atmosphere in and out, and produce sourced quality from vegan to non vegan English and European bites, from delicious bacon sandwiches, pies, and sausage rolls to great salads, and pasta.
And some further Spanish suggestions:
We are looking forward to bars and restaurants reopening soon, writes Elisa Ramirez, so that we can enjoy some lovely Spanish cuisine at Barrafina restaurants in London. Our go-to restaurant is always the one in Covent Garden, but perhaps in a post-Covid world we manage to find a table in their Dean St Micheline-star restaurant! Some delicious dishes which always transport me back to my homeland include toasted Marcona almonds with sea salt, pimientos del padrón, patatas bravísimas, tortilla (with onion, otherwise it is not tortilla!) and cod fritters. My other half would die for some pulpo a feira, scallops and arroz de marisco. Despite my various attempts at cooking some of these dishes myself, he insists Barrafina does it best. I guess I will have to keep on trying. And by this I mean trying their tasty food once we are allowed to eat out again.
Miss Tapas in Peckham is one of the most authentic Spanish tapas bars I’ve come across in London, writes Katherine Boyle. There are only a few seats outside, but spending an evening there with friends enjoying vermouth and tapas is high up on my post-covid ‘to do’ list. I return for the lively and welcoming atmosphere as much as the mouthwatering food. I’ve been dreaming of their chorizo and quail’s eggs, delectable steak and golden tortilla. It’s a small restaurant and they don’t take reservations, but trust me, it’s worth the wait.
As we go to press news reaches us of the planned reopening in April of other London venues popular with BSS members . They include Boqueria in Battersea and Abel Lusa’s Cambio de Tercio, which together with its more casual sister restaurant Tendido Cero is blessed with outside tables as well as quality cuisine and excellent customer attendance.