When it comes to summer there are two things that go hand in hand: drinking and doing it alfresco, I’m referring to drinking there, I don’t want to know about your antics. All the better if you are somewhere like Italy or if like us a faux Italy. You might remember we told you about House of Peroni presenting Vita al Fresco which is currently at Harvey Nichols? Well with the sun shining, we thought where better to go for our Friday night drinks then there? Also quite frankly we didn’t want to be jostled around on the pavement like all those drinkers outside the pub, no siree.
Instead we took the express lift to the fifth floor and took up our seats in the terrace. Lined with astro-turf, white wrought iron chairs and tables and beneath a canopy of blue flowers, the terrace is an escape from the world below. They even have the sounds of Italy playing out, yes you might still have the London soundtrack in the background, which mainly consists of sirens, but it’s more bearable when you can hear bird song over the top.
Created by the renowned Simone Caporale, the cocktails are made using Peroni Nastro Azzurro go for the Mela Sour, it’s apparently the favourite and it’s not hard to see why; it’s a gin based sour topped with Peroni Nasto Azzurro, bergamot puree, apple juice, agave nectar and Peychaud’s bitters. It’s said to be inspired by the romance of the Amalfi Coast, but also does quite well in the concrete sprawl that is London.
Moving on to the food, the Island rolls were a little disappointing. They’re meant to be served as light nibbles but they were pretty chunky, the aubergine cream looked like a grey smear on the plate, the fish was too thick, a little tough and whilst there were few bones, the bones we did find were pretty long and no one wants to be gagging on a fish bone whilst trying to look poised and elegant, the two just don’t go.
Paranza popcorn was delicious, make sure you order that – different cuts of deep-fried fish with devilish squid ink mayonnaise and oyster mayonnaise. Make sure you get some of the Mare E Monti sliders too (beef tartare and sea bass) and not to share, you won’t want to have to choose which one you want.
Having outlasted everyone in the garden who headed in as the temperature dropped, (if they could work on brining the Italian temperatures to London, it would be greatly appreciated) we headed back in for one last Mela Sour before taking the lift back down to London.
House of Peroni presents Vita al Fresco is running until 24th May