Let’s face it, three-day heatwave aside, summer has not been kind to us this year. As Brits we’re used to making the most of it and will dash outside at any hint of sunshine. So on an uncharacteristically sunny day my friend Charlotte and I headed out to leafy Kensington for an al-fresco lunch date at Urban Meadow.
Looking over the expanses of Hyde Park, nothing says ‘London Summer’ like Urban Meadow’s beautiful terrace, complete with colourful furnishings and wide cream canopies. It’s so pretty that not even the ominous grey clouds threatening to take over the blue skies could dampen our spirits.
The first thing you should know about Urban Meadow is their staff really want you to have a good time. Seriously their enthusiasm is pretty infectious. Our waiter walked us through the cocktail menu, gave us plenty of helpful tips on what to order and challenged us to make our way through the entire list by the end of lunch. I’m not one to turn down a challenge and the cocktail list at Urban Meadow is as delicious as it is inventive. Game on!
For our first round Charlotte and I both ordered an Elderflower Fizz which was the perfect combination of sweet and sharp (that’ll be that magic combination of elderflower, lemon and prosecco with a hefty splash of gin – yum!) and arrived complete with summery striped straw and pretty mint garnish. That’s the second thing you should know about Urban Meadow – everything looks just as delicious as it tastes.
Our meal started with delicious Crispy fried calamari cooked to perfection, accompanied garlic and lemon mayonnaise and perfectly fresh grilled green asparagus complete with a ‘just runny enough’ poached egg and creamy hollandaise sauce.
This was the first and only time in my life I had wished Charlotte would disappear on the spot, as we’d ordered these to share and, quite frankly, I could have eaten them both to myself and not been sorry for a second.
Our starters were of course accompanied by another cocktail. This time Charlotte opted for her favourite, an espresso martini (my favourite too and I can attest it was excellent!) whilst I asked our waiter to surprise me, which he did with the very aptly titled ‘Sunny Park’ – a blend of vodka, fresh apple juice, passion fruit, mint, honey and lime. The perfect accompaniment to our summery starters.
This menu is packed full of my favourites and it was pretty hard to choose a main. In the end I went for the oven baked salmon fillet that came on a bed of green beans and asparagus with baby new potatoes and a coriander butter that I would have married if that was at all possible. The salmon was cooked perfectly – tender with a crispy skin and the al dente crunch of the beans complimented it perfectly. Also a big ‘well done’ to Urban Meadow for serving me new potatoes so yummy that I ate (and enjoyed) each and every one despite usually turning my nose up at them.
Charlotte went for the grilled lamb cutlets with cherry tomato, feta, olive and mint salad. As a pesceterian I was unable to try any myself but Charlotte assured me the lamb was tender and the salty feta made an excellent accompaniment. Even to a non-meat eater it looked good enough to eat!
By the time pudding came around we were feeling pretty full so decided to take a well-deserved rest and have yet another cocktail, egged on of course by our waiter and new best friend.
This time I went for an espresso martini due to the intense envy caused by Charlottes whilst she opted for a Pina Colada which she let me try (aka I guzzled as much as possible without appearing rude). I’d go as far to say it was one of the better Pina Colada’s I’ve ever had – sweet and creamy but not sickening.
We were finding it hard to choose a dessert at this point (possibly the fault of the three cocktails but who’s counting!) and this is where our waiter made the transition from new best friend to best friend for life, bringing us two freshly baked chocolate chip cookies with melted chocolate centres to tide us over until we made our decision. Still hot from the oven. Remember what I said about how great the waiters are at Urban Meadow?
As we enjoyed our cookies (crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle with an intense dark chocolate flavour – in case you were wondering!) we perused the dessert menu and Charlotte chose a Lemon curd and blueberry sundae whilst I opted for the Urban Meadow cheese board.
You’re probably thinking that this was the height of greediness at this point and you’re not wrong. However, the food was just too good to resist and I regret nothing. With the exception of not also ordering the Eton Mess and the dark chocolate fondant.
The sundae was light and citrusy with the fresh blueberries and swirls of lemon curd adding a lovely tang to the creamy Cornish ice cream.
I’m something of a cheese board connoisseur so don’t take this lightly when I say that Urban Meadow have got the perfect ratio of cheese to oatcake to chutney nailed down. That’s a rare find. Combine that with the fact that there was an excellent variety of cheese, the chutney was delicious plus there were pickles… I was in heaven.
Four hours and three and a half courses later we were happy, incredibly full and sad to leave. It was the perfect leisurely lunch.
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the sunshine this summertime, head on down to Urban Meadow. Rumour is they also do an amazing afternoon tea (the rumour being the fact I saw it on another table and stared at it greedily) and a terrific brunch.
My one regret? Not completing the cocktail challenge. Oh well, I’ll just have to get myself back there to try the rest!
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