It felt only right that I should be writing a blog post on my first experience of eating out since lockdown. As we walked through Belgravia on a windy Sunday summer’s evening the temperature couldn’t have been more perfect for a little alfresco dining at The Berkeley Hotel’s new Garden Restaurant.

Alfresco dining at The Berkeley
The jasmin scented entrance

The Berkeley in lockdown

The Berkeley hasn’t been closed during the London lockdown, in fact quite the opposite. They created a drive-through for NHS staff during lockdown, serving up to 500 free meals a day and 1,500 meals for Westminster Connects initiatives. It has been a rousing success.

Going forward, their drive-through will continue to open on the first Wednesday of the month. It seems from talking to both staff and key workers that it has been the most rewarding experience.

The Garden at The Berkeley

Arriving at the quiet side entrance to the Berkeley, you are immediately met by an intoxicating scented jasmine archway. The Garden at the Berkeley has been transformed from the old ballroom driveway, and what a transformation it is. A gorgeous balmy Sunday evening and with the hum of chilled music it felt like you were anywhere but London. Considering we are not planning on going anywhere right now this is a major plus point.

Alfresco dining at The Berkeley

You have your temperature taken as you arrive. Something that is both reassuring and yet so strange. It is a sign of the new normal we are all going to have to get used to. Under the pretty tree lights and surrounded by lavender scented pots and candles, you are led to your table. Tables were set for either two, four, or six well spaced apart, and plenty of heaters to keep any chill off.

Alfresco dining at The Berkeley | How it works

Our first venture out deserved a cocktail. Tequila girl that I am, we had margaritas and quite delicious they were too.

Alfresco dining at The Berkeley
Margarita moment

They bring you warm bread and roasted garlic to nibble on whilst you scan the bar code for your menu. All very efficient.

Warm bread with roasted tomatoes and garlic

Once your food order is in, it is served as and when it is ready. That sharing plate philosophy we all love – well I do anyway!

What we ate alfresco…

We started with the saganaki – a Cypriot cheese served with pomegranate and tomato on a sizzling hot plate. Mouthwateringly good!

Alfresco dining at The Berkeley
The sizzling saganaki

Watermelon and feta salad was both refreshing and delicious alongside the tastiest charred prawns and tenderstems with corn and pine nuts.

Charred prawns

We shared the t-bone steak which was absolutely delicious. I eat rarely meat but this was worth every single mouthful. Tender, tasty and very juicy!

Alfresco dining at The Berkeley
Our table of food dining alfresco at The Garden

We finished off with two excellent tangy puddings. The apricot frangipani tart, sharp and tasty – my mouth is still watering as I write. The lemon tart which had a crisp base with a filling I have been trying to recreate all lockdown, was as tart as a tart should be!

A tangy apricot frangipani tart and the lemon meringue tart

Verdict | Alfresco dining at The Berkeley

This was exactly what we needed to persuade us to venture out into the restaurant scene again. An alfresco dining experience of excellent food in a beautiful setting, socially distanced with first class service. There wasn’t a single thing we could fault.

It was our first date night since Christmas. A dry January and then a broken leg on the ski slopes had kept us in up until lockdown, so it couldn’t have been more perfect.

The Berkeley have created an exquisite setting. Simple unfussy food made with ingredients bursting with flavour. Served in an ambience that transported you and made you feel that you were somewhere very exotic rather than being in the middle of a city. This is what your first outing should be like – P E R F E C T I O N.

The Garden at The Berkeley is open every evening 6 – 10pm
Weekends all day dining 12-10pm
Booking essential