DIN­ING

When the sun is shin­ing, there’s noth­ing nicer than a lazy lunch al­fresco, says Sam Rogg. Bet­ter still, you don’t even have to pre­pare your own pic­nic, as all the hard work has been done for you

Where London - - Contents -

This month’s din­ing op­tions in­clude posh pic­nics, a restau­rant in Damien Hirst’s new art gallery and a taste of Morocco.

‘O my! O my!’ says Mole about the con­tents of a ‘fat, wicker lun­cheon bas­ket’ in the Bri­tish classic The Wind in the Wil­lows, first pub­lished in 1908. In the book, the au­thor Ken­neth Gra­hame is, of course, re­fer­ring to a pic­nic, one full of cold meats, cress sand­wiches and ginger beer. Flash for­ward to 2016, and much has changed for Bri­tain’s tra­di­tional sum­mer pas­time, though many of Mole’s favourite fill­ings still re­main. Nowhere is this tasty evo­lu­tion more vis­i­ble than in Lon­don, where pic­nics are aplenty this month and, best of all, they come ready-made.

When The Arch Lon­don ho­tel’s Hunter 486 restau­rant launched its ‘Best of Bri­tish’ menu last year, it was met with ac­claim. De­vel­oped with Hen­ri­etta Green, au­thor of Food-Lovers’ Guide to-Bri­tain, the menu also fea­tures Posh Pic­nic Ham­pers. En­joy smoked-salmon sand­wiches, home­made crisps, poached chicken, mac­arons and Cham­pagne – best en­joyed in nearby Hyde Park (from £45.50; Great Cum­ber­land Place, W1H 7FD).

Think pic­nics can’t be lux­u­ri­ous? Think again. At Dukes Lon­don, a bou­tique ho­tel near Buck­ing­ham Palace, your pic­nic comes with but­ler ser­vice and a linen ta­ble-cloth-cum-pic­nic rug, so you can feel like roy­alty. After es­cort­ing you to your cho­sen spot in nearby Green Park, the but­ler will lay every­thing out then leave you to en­joy your feast. Choose from three menus, in­clud­ing veg­e­tar­ian and chil­dren’s op­tions. Freshly made dishes in­clude poached salmon, piri-piri chicken and a sub­lime broc­coli, pine nut and avo­cado quiche. Thick wedges of ar­ti­san cheese and el­e­gant desserts are kept chilled in a cool bag, along­side an op­tional bot­tle of Cham­pagne. When you’ve fin­ished, just give the ho­tel a call and the but­ler will reap­pear to pack every­thing up (from £35; St James’s Place, SW1A 1NY).

If you fancy a pic­nic by the river, then look no fur­ther than The But­lers Wharf Chop

House. In­side its rus­tic ham­pers you’ll find meat or veg­e­tar­ian sand­wiches, a cheese platter, cru­dités and dips, plus straw­ber­ries and cream, served on the ter­race over­look­ing the Thames (from £35; 36e Shad Thames, SE1 2YE).

Can’t wait un­til lunchtime to start your pic­nic? You don’t have to at the Char­lotte

Street Ho­tel. With its se­lec­tion of crois­sants, muffins, sand­wiches, gra­nola bars and fruit salad, the ho­tel’s Break­fast Ham­per is sure to get your day off to the right start (from £40; 15-17 Char­lotte St, W1T 1RJ).

Most pic­nics re­quire or­der­ing at least 24 hours in ad­vance.

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