Best for a garden tea
The Park Terrace, Mandarin Oriental
Pink hydrangeas, fragrant sweet peas, lush grasses – it could be a show garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, but this is Mandarin Oriental’s secret terrace. Hidden in the back of this sumptuous five-star hotel across from Harvey Nichols, The Park Terrace has just opened for summer.
With a view of Hyde Park over the hedges, it’s a picture-perfect setting for a blissful afternoon tea. And the food is picture-perfect, too. In addition to delicate sandwiches (rolled into a raindrop shape), cakes and scones, there’s lavender lemon curd, rose petal jelly, a strawberry macaroon with lychee and a chocolate boule with jasmine cream – all topped with frosted petals or flowers made from marzipan. Better still, it tastes as good as it looks. One of the most divine afternoon teas in London, catch it while you can.
Afternoon Tea, available until end of May, 3-6pm daily; park terrace open from 1 May to 30 September 2009.
The Park Terrace, Mandarin Oriental, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA; +44 (0)20 7235 2000, mandarinoriental.com/London
Best for year-round garden grub
Babylon at the Roof Gardens, Kensington
On the seventh floor of a building off High Street Kensington, the Roof Gardens have long given a dose of floral cheer on dreary days. In April 2009, they were completely refreshed, and the Spanish, Tudor and English Woodland gardens now look a pretty as a daisy.
In the summer, there's a fantastic barbecue buffet, with tiger prawns, lamb thyme burgers, herb rotisserie chicken, vegetable skewers and more on the grill, and mounds of delicious, seasonal salads - all served in the walled Tudor garden with a live Spanish band providing the atmosphere. You can also have an an a la carte barbecue on the restaurant terrace, overlooking the English Woodland garden.
Outside summer, the modern European restaurant, with flower-chic decor, still offers great views of the Woodland garden throught floor-to-ceiling windows. Make sure to try the delicate Asian pear martini before your meal, and if you're there in the evening, hang around until late to get your groove on in The Club.
Barbecues available from 1 May to 26 September 2009: Three-course buffet barbecue in Tudor garden, £60, 7-10pm Fridays and Saturdays; a la carte Babylon Terrace barbecue, mains around £20, Mondays to Fridays 12-3pm, Mondays to Thursdays 7-11pm.
Babylon at the Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA; (0)20 7368 3993
Best for sweet treats
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
Anyone who has dined at Alain Ducasse’s renowned Michelin-starred restaurant in The Dorchester will be familiar with their tasty signature macaroons. With flavours such as Rose and Raspberry, Orange blossom and Verbena they make a blooming marvellous finish to the dining experience.
The restaurant is launching a new Ladies lunch to celebrate the start of the London Social Season. The set menu includes a flute of Alain Ducasse champagne and a selection of exclusive herbal infusions prepared in front of the guests.
Ladies Lunch Hour menu, with Chelsea Flower Show macaroons, available Tuesday to Friday, 12-2pm
Price: Two courses £39.50, three course £45
The Dorchester, Park Lane, London, W1K 1QA; 020 7629 8866, alainducasse-dorchester.com
Read on for refreshing floral cocktails and girly lunches.