24-28th May kicks off the British cultural summer calendar with thousands of the most perfect blooms you’ve ever seen – it is, of course, RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Honouring the event, outdoor bars are sprouting across the city and botanical-inspired dishes are blossoming everywhere you turn. Here are 11 places to head for your floral-fix if you’re more ‘knees-up’ than muddy knees and prefer the petals to be on your food.
An indoor garden
Tom’s Kitchen Chelsea is transforming into a miniature flower show of its own between 16th-31st May, with local florist Lavender Green Flowers creating bespoke flowerer arrangements for the store and greenery transforming the venue into a veritable garden, all accompanied by flora-inspired dishes and cocktails including edible herbs such as as nasturtium, elderflower and lemon basil.
One for the Instagrammers
As part of the Blossom City campaign, Quaglino’s have a new afternoon tea inspired by an English Garden – but be warned if you go with an Instagrammer, you’re going to be waiting a while – it’s so pretty you won’t want to eat it. Floral cakes include lemon and lavender macaroons, carrot cake pots, a rhubarb and rose opera cake and basil chamomile scones. Phones at the ready.
BLOOM Gin Pop-Up
If you’re going to make floral cocktails then it would make sense to use a spirit with floral notes. Our favourite has to be BLOOM Gin and it just so happens that they’re hosting an al-fresco pop-up at The Botanist. So after a day at the show head to Sloane Square for the likes of the Botanist Floral Spritz mixed with BLOOM Gin, Belsazar White, Kamm and Sons, St Germain elderflower, lemon, Angostura bitters, cucumber and edible flowers.
Mad Hatter's Tipsy Evening Tea
Sanderson is known for its Mad Hatter’s afternoon tea, but for Chelsea Flower Show they are giving it the floral treatment in the form of four botanical cocktails (think rose and cucumber G &Ts and a juniper Cosmo) and alcohol-infused cakes like a banana and rum bread-and-butterfly. It’s also being served in the evening so you can make your Friday night all about G&T and cakes – ideal. 23rd May – 24th June, 7-9pm.
Where: 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Goodge Street (0.4 miles)
Covent Garden Cocktails
Ditch the bustling streets of Covent Garden, slip behind the hidden door in St Martins Lane and pull up a pew in Blind Spot. The decadent cocktail bar usually pays homage to exotic tea leaves but from the 24th – 28th May they’ll be serving up a trio of floral cocktails and we rather like the sound of Flame Nettle Fizz (Cabeza tequila, flame nettle and peppermint tea syrup, Maraschino, fresh lime and soda water) proving that floral doesn’t just have to be dainty.
Where: 45 St. Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4HX, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Leicester Square (0.2 miles)
Story-telling Afternoon Tea
Served in a bespoke pop-up restaurant which evokes the glamour of The Promenade, The Dorchester’s and Laurent Perrier afternoon tea not only celebrates the RHS Chelsea Flower Show but also each cake will tell a story. Take, for example, The Dorchester and the Giant Peach – a peach mousse with peach and verbena on a rice crispy biscuit which, as you might have guessed, honours the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl. The growth of new plants and new ideas are symbolised in the signature cake – the Premise of a Gardener: a flower pot filled with lime, white chocolate, fresh strawberries and a sprig of mint sprouting out of a chocolate crumbled accompanied by berry and hibiscus coulis served in a watering can. We would say it was too pretty to eat… but we’ll still be eating it.
The Dorchester and Laurent-Perrier Afternoon Tea at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show will cost £60 per person and will be available 24th – 28 May, served at 3:30pm, 4pm, 4:30pm and 5pm
Where: Park Lane, Mayfair, London, W1K 1QA, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.5 miles)
Edible Flowers and Martinis
Our favourite flowers are obviously the edible variety and you’ll find them in abundance at The Waterside Garden at Rotunda. They decorate pistachio and polenta sponges; finish a heritage tomato and burrata salad and adorn smoked mackerel rillettes with pickled cucumber and crisp flatbread. The terrace itself is also full of beautiful flowers, enter through a scented floral archway and sit amongst planters, white roses and wild strawberries – you might even forget you’re in London. During 24th-28th there’ll also be 25% of The Waterside Martini too!
Where: Kings Place, 90 York Way, Kings Cross, London N1 9AG, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London St Pancras (0.3 miles)
Alternative to Gardening
We might not all be able to garden, but we are all able to drink cocktails… well that’s our reasoning anyway. So you’ll find us at The Met Bar sipping on floral inspired cocktails, most likely the Sonic Bloom – a mix of lavender combined with flavours of Dandelion and Burdock Bitters, marmalade and English sparkling wine although the Honey Blossom cocktail sounds rather good too; sage honey syrup stirred into vodka and orange blossom water, served straight up with a touch of fino sherry. 24th-28th May.
Where: COMO Metropolitan London, 19 Old Park Lane, London W1K 1LB, UK
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.3 miles)
Rivea London is celebrating the show with two new desserts created by Pastry Chef Alexandre Talpaert. Choose from a jasmine and wild strawberry pergola or the beauty you see above: dark chocolate case mirliton sponge, lime and vanilla cream, fresh berries, edible flowers and lime sorbet.
Oysters in the sun
Bibendum have decided to bring the flower show to themselves, collaborating with Chelsea Flower Show exhibitors, Jack Dunckley and A Place in the Garden to create a courtyard garden from May to July, where guests can enjoy a feast of top-class oysters all while soaking in the sun. Perfect.
Where: Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6RD, United Kingdom
Nearest station: South Kensington (0.4 miles)
Full-on floral makeover
Polo-inspired PJ’s Bar and Grill is really taking the theme of Chelsea Flower Show seriously as they bring the outside in with a full interior makeover. Flower displays by Quintessentially Flowers have a subtly tropical touch thanks to the upcoming Rio Olympics and, as well as a three-course Lunch in Bloom menu, botanical cocktails including a tomato salad martini mean it’s not just about flowers. And, because it’s in Chelsea, it’s just a short walk to the show itself.
Where: 52 Fulham Road, South Kensington, London, SW3 6HH, United Kingdom
Nearest station: South Kensington (0.3 miles)
All about Britain
If Britain is famed for one thing globally then it’s its beauty. Aqua Shard are using British horticulture as the inspiration for their Chelsea Flower Show cocktails and desserts. The dessert is made with a flower in each element (Lemon verbena panna cotta, rose water jelly, orange blossom marshmallow) and the cocktail is made with the most British of flowers in mind… the English Rose.
Where: Level 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Bridge (0.1 miles)
Other places worth checking out:
- The Rose Lounge at Sofitel St. James’s have four desserts and a cocktail, created especially by their pastry team
- Harrods has a whole host of floral events including an afternoon tea and talks in-store
- St. James’s Hotel and Club have a board-game inspired floral takeover with teas and cocktails, M Restaurants Victoria have a Cloudy Bay garden and wine flight
- South Place Hotel have created a secret rooftop garden bar with interactive honey cocktails.