Eating outdoors has always had a slightly hick air to it. The preserve of pub gardens, wonky tables balanced with folded beer mats and being perpetually pestered by wasps. The only acceptable reason to eat outside, as far I can can tell, is to avoid full-volume sport being shown on the telly. And now outdoor pubbing’s all the rage, they’ve even brought that outside.
But there’s one place you can escape all that. As hospitality flees outdoors, most fine dining establishments can’t or won’t follow suit. Most Michelin-star experiences don’t exactly work on a pavement being jostled by shoppers and simultaneously inhaling taxi fumes.
But there are some very rare examples, just over 10% of London’s total Michelin star establishments, who have ventured onto terraces, courtyards and, in the case of Davies & Brook I swear an alleyway. And here we are to celebrate them!
Dinner By Heston
Dinner By Heston is famously a little different. The molecular chef may be known for his extraordinary dishes, but this time there’s something else that’s a little bit different.
Trading the interiors that includes a reproduction eighteenth century clock and a Tudor-inspired private dining room for outside seating isn’t all bad, though. Because the Mandarin Oriental’s terrace overlooks Hyde Park.
Two Michelin stars and four AA Rosettes makes Dinner By Heston the poshest ‘picnic’ you’ll ever experience.
Where: 66 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
Davies & Brook
I suspect that when Daniel Humm named Davies & Brook, to honour the ‘intersection’ of Brook Street and Davies Street, he didn’t expect he’d ever be relocating the entire restaurant onto one of its eponymous roads.
But that’s exactly what’s happened, with the narrow service alleyway running the length of the side of the Davies Street edge of the restaurant.
And a Humm Dog likely tastes almost better in this less refined and rarefied atmosphere. Because the food is guaranteed to blow you away even if the honking van driver to your left doesn’t.
Where: Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, W1K 4HR
The Ritz Restaurant Terrace
With the possible exception of Versailles, no place is more closely associated with gilt mouldings, ornate furniture and sheer opulence as The Ritz. But being outdoors is the great leveller. Albeit as level as you can ever be when you’re sat dining at The Ritz.
But it’s true that when you take away the theatre and the drama of The Ritz, you’re left with the food. And the terrace at The Ritz lets you reacquaint yourself with the reason Executive Chef John Williams won his Michelin star in the first place. And it’s got nothing to do with crystal chandeliers.
Where: 150 Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1J 9BR
While Claude Bosi’s restaurant hasn’t and can’t reopen (coz indoors) he has been able to put the forecourt of the old tyre workshop and, ironically, Michelin headquarters, to solid use in the form of an oyster bar.
With the two-Michelin star holder channelling his creativity into the bivalve business, these are guaranteed to be some of the very best Michelin mollusks money can buy.
Where: Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, Chelsea, SW3 6RD
Adam Byatt’s Clapham Michelin starred restaurant has spilled out across the Polygon to form Trinity Outside.
A Champagne-terrace-meets-restaurant (it’s been launched in partnership with Ruinart Champagne) the 35-cover creation serves small plates, barbecued fish and meats with salads accompanied by Dom Ruinart, Ruinart Blanc de Blanc and Ruinart Rose by the glass.
Where: 4 The Polygon, Clapham Old Town, SW4 0JG
Hide made it onto everyone’s bucket list months before it even opened, principally because Ollie Dabbous is at the helm.
Rapidly Michelin-starred, the stunning interior and staircase are currently off-limits but the food isn’t.
Serving Dabbous’ brilliant dishes right on Piccadilly, Hide, could anything be more decadent than a tin of £240 Beluga caviar served on street?
And I know that you’re thinking (because it’s what I was thinking) ‘yeah, but I could just walk a couple hundred yards and buy it cheaper at Caviar House or Fortnum’s’ and the answer is, surprisingly, that you can’t, or at least you won’t see much saving, plus it won’t come with the accoutrements offered by Hide, or the opportunity to follow it with a main course of 50 day-aged short-horn beef ribeye.
Where: 85 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB
The Terrace At Petrus
He’s back! The restaurant world’s great survivor is proving once again that no one puts Gordy in the corner. Petrus is open for business!
The socially distanced tables, complete with heaters and crisp linen was began operating last summer, meaning that reopening in terrace mode was a no-brainer.
Where: 1 Kinnerton Street, Knightsbridge, SW1X 8EA
Purveyors of some of London’s best Chinese cuisine, Kai Mayfair have just five outdoors tables.
While currently still closed (the terrace’s tagline ‘because your best stories won’t keep till tomorrow’ slightly at odds with the fact that until May they’ll just have to!) the plan is to reopen the terrace before the restaurant is allowed to reopen indoors.
Where: 65 South Audley Street, Mayfair, W1K 2QU