Al fresco London: the best restaurants re-opening on 12th April
Following almost four months of closure, hospitality venues such as restaurants, bars, and pubs are able to re-open for al fresco dining as of Monday 12th April as lockdown restrictions begin to ease. We pick the best restaurants re-opening next week, with Covid-safe outdoor terraces.
(NB. With the effects of Covid-19 continuing to impact businesses, it’s advisable to call or check each restaurant’s website and social media for updated opening hours before visiting.)
Circolo Popolare, Fitzrovia
In addition to re-opening for al fresco dining on 12th April, Circolo Popolare has introduced a brand new menu. Sibling to Gloria in Shoreditch, the Fitzrovia restaurant’s new menu features dishes such as La Gran Carbonara pizza, with yolky carbonara and guanciale, topped with Parmigiano DOP, on a Neapolitan base; plus deep fried crocchettas filled with truffle; a fritto misto platter; and a Cacio e Pepe Wheel, served in a 4kg Pecorino Romano. For dessert, Circolo Popolare will continue to serve classics, including their famous lemon pie. With parasols and heaters, the terrace will be on hand for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, from Monday-to-Sunday.
Circolo Popolare’s terrace is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made at bigmammagroup.com.
An exemplary barbecue restaurant, SMOKESTAK’s al fresco terrace has bookable tables, for groups of up to six people, but is also reserving some space for walk-ins. With a new awning designed to protect guests from the unpredictable weather, the Shoreditch restaurant has launched a new menu, with signature smoked meats joined by a selection of new dishes making use of seasonal produce. Highlights from the new menu include the likes of calcot fritti; chipotle caramel wings; and pastrami, pickle, mustard and dill buns. A line-up of meats from the restaurant’s custom US smoker features lamb merguez with mint dressing; charred pork belly rib with pickled cucumber; and beef brisket with mustard barbecue. The entire menu is also available to takeaway, while SMOKESTAK’s At Home DIY kits remain available for nationwide delivery.
SMOKESTAK’s terrace is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made for groups of four to six people, while space will also be reserved for walk-ins. Further information can be found at smokestak.co.uk.
Gerrard’s Corner, Chinatown
Having been especially devastated due to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinatown’s restaurants spilled out onto the pavements of Gerrard Street, Wardour Street, Lisle Street, and the surrounding areas last summer. Offering a new al fresco area for diners between lockdowns, those outdoor terraces will re-open once again next week, as restrictions loosen. A Chinatown stalwart, Gerrard’s Corner plans to re-open for al fresco dining on 12th April, specialising in Cantonese dishes. Expect the likes of roast duck, beef ho fun noodles, sweet and sour pork, and more.
Gerrard’s Corner is set to re-open for al fresco dining on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at chinatown.co.uk.
Dumplings’ Legend, Chinatown
Another classic Chinatown restaurant, Dumplings’ Legend plans to re-open with new outdoor seating. The restaurants’ owner Geoff Leong is behind some of the best Chinese restaurants in London, also sitting on the Covid Anti-Racism Group – a committee of Anglo-Chinese business leaders, councillors and former police officers, set up last April to liaise between Scotland Yard and the South East Asian community, in response to a sharp rise in racism against the Chinese community. Serving a large menu, Dumplings’ Legend has a particular focus on superlative dim sum. Their xiao long bao are some of the best in London, if not the UK.
Dumplings’ Legend is set to re-open for al fresco dining on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at chinatown.co.uk.
Initially introduced last summer, Westminster Council are repeating the outdoor dining scheme, which closed dozens of central London streets to traffic, allowing pubs and restaurants to offer al fresco drinking and dining options, in keeping with government guidelines. One of many restaurants benefitting from the scheme, Michelin-starred Barrafina Dean Street’s original outdoor offering has been reinforced with extra al fresco tables, covered with strong parasols and joined by powerful heaters. Perfect for long awaited pan con tomate and that tortilla.
Barrafina Dean Street’s terrace is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made at barrafina.co.uk.
One of lockdown’s biggest success stories, Ombra pivoted during the first national lockdown to introduce a successful take-away and delivery operation. One of London’s best Italian restaurants now operates as a pastifico and deli during the day and online, which will continue on the backburner as the restaurant begins to open for al fresco dining. Outdoor seating is now possible to book and a short lunch menu is available throughout the day, while a larger menu is served at dinner, continuing Ombra’s focus on excellent cicchetti, pastas, and one of the best tiramisus this side of Treviso.
Ombra is set to re-open for al fresco dining on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at ombrabar.restaurant.
El Pastor, Borough
With heated parasols, El Pastor’s terrace is open for walk-ins only, with a virtual queue hosted by the Walk-Up app to avoid loitering. From the restaurant’s menu, the ‘Al Pastor’ tacos are a must-order, as are the soft shell crab and Baja fish tacos, best washed down with a Michelada, or one of the restaurant’s ‘Mezcarita’ cocktails. The restaurant’s north London sibling, Plaza Pastor will also be open from Monday 12th April, with bookings taken and more space to accommodate larger parties within the rule of six/two households rule.
El Pastor’s terrace is set to re-open on Monday 12th April, walk-in only. Further information can be found at tacoselpastor.co.uk.
Tacos Padre Summer Evening Pop Up, Borough
To coincide with restaurants being able to re-open for outdoor dining, Borough Market taqueria, Tacos Padre’s Summer Evening Pop Up has returned for 2021. Taking place from Thursday-to-Saturday evenings (from Thursday 15th April), the evening pop-ups take place outside the fully-covered stall, with the dinner menu delving beyond tacos, diving into Mexican food culture, inspired by founder Nick Fitzgerald’s time working at Pujol Mexico City. Menu highlights include the likes of Crab tostada with guajillo and tamarind; sweet potato flauta; fish mextlapique and chilpachole; Romesco and mexa Romanesco; and Pork cochinita with grilled Xi-Ni-Pec.
Tacos Padre’s Summer Evening Pop Up will re-open on Thursday 15th April, taking place from Thursday – Saturday, 6 – 10pm. Further information can be found at tacospadre.com.
Parrillan, King’s Cross
Launched in 2019, long before al fresco dining became a necessity, Parrillan is a sibling to Barrafina, next door to the Coal Drops Yard site, with all seats on the partially covered terrace. Originally a bit of a wind trap, new glass sides have also been added to the restaurant for its re-opening. Inspired by Ibicencan restaurant C’an Pilot, Parrillan focuses on high-quality produce which is intended to be cooked by customers on table-top parrillas filled with white hot coals. Expect para picar dishes such as pan con tomate, and AA anchovies de l’Escala prepared in the Barrafina kitchen, plus ingredients such as red prawns, Iberian pork, and milk-fed lambs’ kidneys to be cooked on the parrilla grills.
Parrillan is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made at parrillan.co.uk.
Casa do Frango, Shoreditch
With restaurants on Southwark Street (near London Bridge station) and in Shoreditch, the restaurant famed for its Portuguese food has introduced new measures in order to protect both staff and customers. Moreover, the Shoreditch site also introduced a brand new al fresco terrace last year, with seats for 80. Equipped with heaters, umbrellas, and blankets, the outdoor terrace is accepting bookings from Monday 12th April, for groups of up to six people. An ideal environment for enjoying the restaurant’s superlative piri piri chicken, batatas fritas, and pastel de nata.
Casa do Frango’s Shoreditch terrace is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made at casadofrango.co.uk.
Vermuteria, King’s Cross
One the Coal Drops Yard development’s first restaurant openings, Vermuteria is an all-day café and bar from chef Anthony Demetre and designer Michael Sodeau. Inspired by the bodegas and cafes along the cycling Grand Tour routes of Italy, France and Spain, Vermuteria combines the pair’s love of food, drink and cycling. The food menu focuses on what’s described as British dishes with European twists, while over 70 vermouths are served, including a selection available on tap. The vermouth list champions producers based in Italy, France and Spain, plus Greece and Britain. For the re-opening, all tables have been moved to the restaurant’s al fresco terrace, strategically covered and equipped with heaters.
Vermuteria is set to re-open for al fresco dining on Monday 12th April. Further information can be found at vermuteria.cc.
Modern Indian restaurant Brigadiers will join a collection of neighbouring Bloomberg Arcade venues opening for al fresco dining next week. Specialising in Indian barbecue dishes, including standouts such as goat belly vindaloo samosas or gunpowder slip sol, Brigadiers’ covered terrace will open from Wednesday 14th April. Bookings are taken for covered tables, for groups of up to six people, while bookings for the uncovered tables will be available 24 hours in advance, weather dependent.
Brigadiers’ terrace is set to re-open on Wednesday 14th April. Further information can be found at brigadierslondon.com.
JOY at Portobello, Ladbroke Grove
A “hub of food, flowers and happiness”, Stevie Parle’s JOY at Portobello will re-open next week, though April may be its final month as the Portobello Dock residency’s fate remains uncertain. To mark the re-opening on 12th April, the outdoor space has been decorated with spring-blooming Parrot Tulips, while the new menu is seafood-focussed, showcasing produce from resident supplier The Goods Shed, and Welsh catches from Lockdown Lobsters. The menu can be enjoyed al fresco in the glass greenhouse, one of the art-filled pavilions (with heaters), or out in the sunshine on a canal-side table; all now bookable.
JOY at Portobello is set to re-open for al fresco dining on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made at joyatportobello.co.uk.
The latest opening from Robin and Sarah Gill, Bermondsey Larder has introduced a new, partially-covered terrace. With space for 46 covers, the outdoor terrace is open from Wednesday-to-Sunday, serving a menu of produce-led plates, plus a new selection of wines and cocktails. Acting as an extension of Bermondsey Larder, the al fresco terrace follows the same ethos as the restaurant, working closely with a network of producers to create a menu of seasonal British dishes. Highlights include Farmer Tom’s welsh lamb, merguez, fennel, and potato pie; and Applewood-smoked eel with broad beans, Amalfi lemon, and mint. They will sit alongside some classics from Robin, including the truffled Baron Bigod, fig, and walnut toast. At the weekends, Bermondsey Larder will be offering its brand-new brunch menu al fresco.
Bermondsey Larder’s terrace is set to open on Wednesday 14th April. Bookings can be made at bermondseylarder.com.
The Red Duck, Balham
A brand new restaurant, The Red Duck will finally open to eat-in guests on Monday 12th April, with a cosy 12-seater terrace. Having opened for takeaway in December 2020, the Balham restaurant celebrates British-Cantonese classics with a modern approach. Menu highlights include panko-breaded prawn balls; char siu pork with house pickles; and aubergine with tofu and black bean.
The Red Duck’s terrace is set to open on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made at theredduck.co.uk.
All three Hoppers sites, in Soho, Marylebone, and King’s Cross, are now taking bookings for their al fresco terraces, ahead of re-opening on 12th April. Space will also be held for walk-ins at all three restaurants, while the Hoppers Soho terrace is uncovered so will be open subject to weather. The Sri Lankan restaurant’s Marylebone restaurant has a covered terrace, however, with al fresco tables spilling out onto the street as part of the St Christopher’s Place pedestrianisation scheme (some of which won’t be covered). The latest and largest Hoppers, in King’s Cross, also has a large outdoor terrace facing Regent’s Canal – partially covered and heated, it’s relatively weather-proof option from which to enjoy Hoppers Sri Lankan classics such as bone marrow varuval; string and egg hoppers; or lamb kothu roti.
Hoppers’ terraces are set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made at hopperslondon.com.
Bar Douro, London Bridge
A Portuguese restaurant and wine bar in south London, Bar Douro’s London Bridge site is set to re-open on 13th April, with an extended al fresco terrace. Within Flat Iron Square, the outdoor terrace has well-spaced barrel seats, or covered and heated tables, ideal for enjoying the restaurant’s croquteas de alheira, bacalhau a bras, or baba de camelo, washed down with a white port and tonic.
Bar Douro London Bridge’s terrace is set to re-open on Tuesday 13th April. Bookings can be made at bardouro.co.uk.
With restaurants in Soho and in the City, Yauatcha will re-open for al fresco dining on 12th April. Moreover, the Broadgate Circle’s double wraparound terraces have recently been revamped ahead of re-opening. Specialising in dim-sum, highlights include the likes of scallop shui mai; venison puffs; edamame truffle dumplings; and spicy pork Szechuan wonton.
Yauatcha City and Soho are set to open for al fresco dining on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made at yauatcha.com.
Mortimer House Kitchen, Fitzrovia
Fitzrovia restaurant Mortimer House Kitchen’s al fresco terrace space along Mortimer Street and Wells Street has been extended to increase capacity for the restaurant’s re-opening. In addition to a weatherproof awning, the 24-cover outdoor terrace has heaters and can accommodate booking for up to six people. An ideal place for Aperitivo, with a wine list championing a distinctive selection of natural whites, reds, and sparkling from Modal Wines. As for the food, Mediterranean dishes are embellished with nods towards the Middle East.
Mortimer House Kitchen’s terrace is set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made at mortimerhousekitchen.com.
As well as being bookable for the first time, Gaucho have adapted their al fresco terraces for the weather. While the Richmond’s outdoor terrace has been completely overhauled, centring around a pontoon concept with an Argentine BBQ menu and disposable, eco-friendly cutlery and crockery, the Tower Bridge site has two new dining pods. Sponsored by Domaine Chandon Argentine Sparkling Wine, the weather-proof pods are bookable for up to six seated diners, featuring their own speakers, a private server, and a complimentary bottle of Chandon with each booking.
Gaucho Restaurants’ terraces are set to re-open on Monday 12th April. Bookings can be made at gauchorestaurants.com.
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