AL FRESCO BRITAIN
The 55 hottest places to stay cool this summer
The 55 hottest places to stay cool this summer, from rooftops to waterside idylls
Summer’s here; time to get out on Britain’s sun-baked streets and rooftop gardens and to enjoy its cute waterside idylls with some al fresco eats and booze. As the mercury rises, Good Food has the skinny on the coolest places to chill in our bustling cities and beyond words TONY NAYLOR
WATERSIDE CHILL IN LEEDS
From the river garden at suburban beer paradise, Kirkstall Bridge Inn (kirkstallbridge.co.uk), to the terrace at Francophile city-centre stalwart, Brasserie Forty 4 (brasserie44.com), there are numerous places in Leeds where you can relax beside the River Aire or Leedsliverpool canal. But, this summer, it is all about the newbies. Off Leeds Dock, North Star Coffee & General Store, a collab between roasters North Star and Noisette Bakehouse (£5.50-£9; northstarroast.com), is newly open for superb coffee, sunny seasonal brunches and bangin’ bread, tarts and scones. If you want to snack on the water’s edge, grab a takeout of Noisette’s signature soured cream batter Morning Cakes. At Water Lane Boathouse, an ex-granary that spills out onto a Canal Wharf terrace, chef Ben Davy creator of fabled food outlets at Belgrave Music Hall and Headrow House (Ox Club, Patty Smith’s etc.) – is serving knockout Neapolitan pizza. These sourdough beauties are blast-cooked in an imported Stefano Ferrara – the Ferrari of handmade clay pizza ovens–and topped either super traditionally, with, say, San Marzano tomato sauce and mozzarella, or (echoing the creativity at Ben’s Ny-style slice bar, Dough Boys), fresh combos such as smoked aubergine, roast cauli and gremolata. ‘We’re making bread, too,’ says Ben, referring to Water Lane’s menu of sassy sandwiches.
‘We did some research and talked to Graham [Faragher] at Bertha’s Pizza in Bristol, who bakes using his Stefano Ferrara. It inspired us to do the same.’ Wash all that down with on-point craft beers, including ales from Leeds’ own Northern Monk (from £4.95; waterlaneboathouse.com).
MEDITERRANEAN ESCAPES IN CARDIFF
True, there are cooler Med-flavoured joints in town. Check Dusty Knuckle’s (@dusty_knuckle) wood-fired pizzas served in the courtyard at art hub, Printhaus. And prettier ones, too. The sun-trap garden at Roath’s Porro (porrocardiff. com) is a sweet spot, even before you get to its gutsy Italian plates of pappardelle with braised ox cheek. But there is something about Bar 44 (spoiler: it’s the food; tapas from £3.60; bar44.co.uk), which makes its handful of pavement tables the hottest of real estate over summer. Pretend the Millennium Stadium opposite is the Nou Camp and you could be in Barcelona as you graze on ibérico croquetas; braised lamb with charred onions & Navarrese chistorra sausage; or Moorish roast squash with mint, almonds & spiced aubergine purée.
BREW-TAPS & BEER FOOD IN MANCHESTER
Central Manchester’s railway arches and industrial units are teeming with terrific young breweries (Runaway, Shindigger, Squawk, Track, Cloudwater), who throw irregular brew-tap parties, bringing together the city’s best beer and street food. You can check their dates on Twitter and Facebook, but first swing by Alphabet Brewing Co. (meals £5-9; @Alphabetbrewco), which every Saturday, on a grimy street behind Piccadilly Station, showcases four traders as diverse as Diamond Dogs and dosa dons, Chaat Cart. Dig in over a pint of Alphabet’s brilliant, chewy A-to-the-k oatmeal pale ale and, if the dates align, then head to Blackjack (25-27 August; blackjack-beers. com), which, at its lively tap nights, has given early exposure to many of the break-out stars on Manchester’s street scene.
HIDDEN SPACES IN EDINBURGH
Particularly during the Fringe festival (4-28 August), visitors to Edinburgh need to know its hidden outdoor spaces; those places where you can swerve the crowds and take a breather. For drinks, try the backyard beer gardens at Blackbird (theblackbirdedinburgh.co.uk) and the craft colossus, Salt Horse (salthorse.beer), but for guaranteed high-grade gastro thrills head to Timberyard (mains from £12.50, lunch; timberyard.co). In this hip, post-industrial space,
the Radford family have created a New Nordic-inspired restaurant (expect lots of foraging, smoking, preserving and natural wine), where chef Ben Radford makes distinctive use of some exceptional Scottish produce. Sitting in the handsome courtyard, you might enjoy raw Isle of Mull scallops so fresh they’re still pulsating, served with intense pea juice, fresh peas, radish and wild sorrel. The only issue, laughs Ben, is the unpredictable weather: ‘In Scotland we can’t take bookings for the yard, but on a good day it gets the sun from 10am until 7pm.’
SUN & SHADE IN BIRMINGHAM
There might not be many cool, shady nooks amid central Brum’s chaotic urban sprawl, but seek and ye shall find. If you prefer gritty to pretty, the quirky railway arch ‘garden’ at next-level burger joint, Original Patty Men (from £6.50; originalpattymen.com) – all fake grass, pot plants and trestle tables – is great. As is its classic bacon cheeseburger: charred, moist Longhorn beef, peppy pickles and American cheese. For a more refined experience, head into leafy inner-suburb Edgbaston, where the Michelin-starred Simpson’s occupies one of the area’s many white Georgian villas. The decked terrace is the perfect place to linger over highly creative, summery dishes such as chef Nathan Eades’ lobster & heritage Evesham tomato salad. It comes with a chilled tomato & coriander tea that, as you finish, you pour into the bowl and slurp down (from £35; simpsonsrestaurant.co.uk).
HIGH-RISE DINING IN LONDON
City suits love the neatly manicured rooftop garden at Coq D’argent (coqdargent.co.uk), and Shoreditch ad execs the citrus-scented orangery at Boundary (boundary.london). But when the Good Food team want to get high, we head up to the gorgeous rooftop garden at Spitalfield’s laidback Culpeper. This neo-victorian boozer does a fine line in ingredient-focused, modern European dishes, such as courgette tart with pea shoots & ricotta, and there is a wood-fired grill on the roof, too (think lamb chops with chimichurri). The adjacent greenhouse supplies ingredients for the pub’s seasonal herbal cocktails, served alongside local craft ales and natural wines. Try Ampeleia’s Tuscan red, Unlitro (mains from £12.50; theculpeper.com).
FIVE-STAR STREET FOOD IN BRISTOL
London aside, Bristol is probably the only UK city where street food is an everyday activity. In stellar sandwich van Pickle ( picklebristol.co.uk) or those vendors clustered in St Nicholas Market (try BBQ pit bosses Grillstock and Levantine wrap stars, Eat A Pitta; stnicholasmarketbristol.co.uk), the city has an unusually high number of permanent street food outlets. Simultaneously, numerous weekly markets – Wine Street (Tuesdays and Fridays), Temple Quay and Finzels Reach (casusevents.co.uk) and the Tobacco Factory (tobaccofactory.com) – support many more top-notch traders. From the wellestablished Bagel Boy to Pickled Brisket
(now open at the food-fabulous shipping container development Cargo), many of Bristol’s traders graduate to fixed sites relatively quickly, too. ‘Bristol is a fantastic incubator,’ says Ah-ma’s Anita Cheung, whose dumplings are in demand (ahmasdumplings.com): ‘There’s a receptive audience, the South West has excellent produce and property developers are realising the opportunities that supporting small independents can bring.’
ESCAPE THE CITY IN OXFORD
On blisteringly hot days, escaping central Oxford’s traffic and tourists can become an urgent necessity. Luckily, you do not have to travel far for tranquillity. On the edge of town, Cherwell Boathouse
(mains from £17.75; cherwell boathouse.co.uk), is, perhaps, the only restaurant in Britain where you can hire a punt after a classy lunch on its riverside terrace. Further afield but equally unique is the sculpture garden at the The Sir Charles Napier (mains from £19.50; sircharlesnapier.co.uk), a polished Michelin-starred pub in the Chiltern Hills. At The White Hart near Abingdon (mains from £16; whitehart-fyfield.com), chef-owner Mark Chandler uses his kitchen-garden to bring a vivid edge to sophisticated dishes such as roasted halibut with clam croquettes, braised Little Gem & tartare butter sauce. In summer, dining spills out onto a terrace lush with greenery.
BRILLIANT BEER GARDENS IN GLASGOW
There are a ridiculous number of memorable open-air drinking spots in Glasgow. For instance, the garden at Brel Bar is unexpectedly cute (brelbar.com); West has palatial splendour to spare (westonthegreen.com); and the Ubiquitous Chip’s wee rooftop sits above that iconic restaurant (ubiquitouschip.co.uk). But for craft beer lovers in particular, Drygate is a must-visit. More stylish than it first appears, this bar, restaurant and micro-brewery has an unapologetically industrial vibe thanks to its location within Tennent’s huge Wellpark brewery site.what it lacks in soft edges, it makes up for in staggeringly good beer. 26 taps and 200 bottles cover all bases (try Drygate’s Seven Peaks mosaic hop IPA), while the kitchen delivers upscale burgers, 60-day aged featherblade steaks with roasted bone marrow and luxe sides such as a crayfish and chorizo mac ’n’ cheese (mains from £8.95; drygate.com).
BEACH BITES IN BRIGHTON
The Kings Road arches that run alongside Brighton’s promenade are home to a clutch of great beachside restaurants. This summer’s big opening is Murmur, a casual sequel to chef Michael Bremner’s acclaimed 64 Degrees. Similarly laidback, Lucky Beach
(from £8.50; luckybeach.co.uk), is an arch café with a surf-y vibe that serves terrific organic, grass-fed burgers topped with novel additions such as chicken-fat fried onions, sambal or burnt green chilli butter. Alternatively, stroll down to Riddle & Finns for spanking seafood and ocean views (mains from £14.50; riddleandfinns.co.uk).
The Culpeper in London’s Spitalfields A feast at Nancarrow Farm in Cornwall
Riddle & Finns in Brighton