There are many great venues to enjoy alfresco dining in London, but few are as authentic and exciting as Inn the Park. It is situated right in the heart of St James’s Park amongst the ponds and plants. It is a contemporary and rustic structure that blends seamlessly into the surroundings. They have used Austrian larch to provide a natural, warm feel to the restaurant, the external wood has been left untreated so that it weathers over time and blends in with the environment.
The design has created perfect continuity between inside and outside space; with the surrounding grass landscape rolling up to a stunning rooftop terrace. You can admire the serene green scenery as well as iconic sights like the London eye in the background whilst sipping on refreshing glasses of wine or craft British beers and ciders.
Their seasonal food menu also celebrates the best of British produce. We ordered a beautifully plated starter of charred octopus and jersey royals. The octopus was marginally too soft in texture, but was well-flavoured with wild garlic aioli; although the server had mistakenly explained that it was salsa verde when asked. It is a summery offering, but one that fills substantial with the presence of jersey royals.
A main course of roasted hake also felt value for money, as it came with very filling portions of braised chorizo and lentils. The hake has been gently cooked, so that the meat still feels soft and delicate whilst the skin is gently crispy. Clearly the chef is very fond of wild garlic aioli as once again it makes an appearance on the plate. I think if the chorizo was slightly stronger in flavour they wouldn’t have needed to add in the aioli as well.
There was simply no room left for any meaningful dessert options, but thankfully they offered a simple, yet classically British choice of strawberries and cream. The strawberries were well-sourced, plump and sweet-tasting, however a very large scoop of cream on top in a small bowl made finishing the dish a very dexterous affair.
I would always prefer speedy service over laborious dining experiences. However, I must have broken my all time dining speed record by managing to complete 3 courses from the point of ordering in under half and hour. Perhaps, time-conscious city workers should consider a visit to Inn the Park for their business lunches. Moreover, all Londoners should take time out to appreciate the valuable green spaces in our city and there is no better way to appreciate it than having dinner and drinks at Inn the Park.