The Handbook
The Handbook

Think of your ideal night. For us, it would merge all the best bits of a dinner party (great friends), restaurant (great food) and summer get together (al fresco) – surely that’s not too much to ask? Three friends from Newcastle University quit the London rat race and decided that this kind of convivial dining should become a reality. The result? Nest: a series of pop-ups focusing on seasonal British small plates, an easy-going atmosphere and great company.

The name Nest actually comes from the saying ‘Nest mid fréondspéde’, meaning food with friends. The trio have popped-up right in the heart of the city for a two-month long stint throughout May and June. When the sun is shining we can’t think of anything better than escaping the office for an al fresco bite to eat. Visit in the evening and BYOB, helping yourself to their homemade cordials – the likes of cucumber, lime and juniper (add you own gin) and rhubarb and ginger (they suggest vodka or rum). Food-wise, the menu of small plates is surprisingly sophisticated. We’ve tried it and will go as far as saying you need to visit for the Old Spot pork jowl alone. Served with burnt orange, the combination is said to have divided opinion but we only have good things to say. Pair it with the potato cake, served with wild garlic mayo. Similarly, don’t miss the ploughman’s croquettes; crispy cheesy goodness. Other dishes include BBQ asparagus with basil and goat’s cheese (light and cooked to perfection) and warm soda bread served with a generous scoop of whipped pork fat butter. Wonderfully decadent.

The space is a charming break from the formality of restaurants. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported into your village tennis club back home but look up and you’ll see the buildings surrounding you. Planning your office summer party? The space can be hired for private events – just sort out the booze and get in touch with the guys to discuss your menu.

Al fresco dining in the city – it doesn’t get much better than this.

Nest’s Summer on the Square at Finsbury Square is open Tuesday – Fridays until the end of June, then at festivals across the UK throughout Summer – see their website for details