Not going on holiday anytime soon? Then this is the pace for you, a true hidden gem! Mazi offers authentic Greek cuisine (the grilled octopus and the feta tempura with lemon marmalade and caper meringue is a must-try), wine and atmosphere. In a white-walled garden you can enjoy tinkling traditional Greek music and if you close your eyes – and use a little imagination – you could easily be on the island of Milos.
OuR gUiDe tO
AL fREsCO dINIng
The style team reveal their favourite spots in London
Words by Flora Macdonald Johnston, Heather Gwyther & Flossie Strickland
fLORA mACDONaLD jOHNsTON, fASHIOn & cONTENt dIREcTOR
This has long been a favourite of mine, and fine, it’s not fully al fresco, but it does have some gorgeous tables at the front and side which still capture its romantic Italian bistro essence. The wine list is superb and the food even more so. Plus, it’s pet-friendly, a win-win!
This restaurant and wine bar arguably has one of the best panoramic views in south London and is one of my go-to spots with a group of friends. Hidden at the top of Peckham's iconic Market building, you can expect dishes of baked arrocina beans, anchovy and tomato and grilled bream and a mega cocktail list. If you enjoy orange wine, try the Vej Bianco Antico.
HEaTHeR gWYTHeR, cONTEnT eDiTOR
Offering British food with a distinctly Mediterranean influence, Llewelyn’s is the highlight of South London’s Herne Hill (and the perfect respite from the buzz of nearby Brixton). Actually securing a table here – especially an al fresco one at the height of summer – isn’t always the easiest task, but that only proves how good it is. We’re currently drooling over the Nduja, Goat's Curd & Piquillo Peppers on Toast – and everything else on the menu, really.
HIDE looks magnificent from the inside, but it's the terrace you'll want to be seated at on a balmy day. With breakfast, lunch and dinner bookings available, it’s the perfect place for a special occasion (though we also suggest going there for no reason at all other than a desire to be indulgent). The stuff you get to eat and drink there is, somewhat predictably, wonderful. Think blue prawns with ripe avocado and fig leaf oil as a starter and The Fallen Madonna to drink (Tanqueray gin, pea shoots, decarbonised tonic, aloe vera). Utter bliss. Plus, its Green Park location makes for excellent people-watching.
fLOSSIe sTRICKLaND, fASHIOn & pR aSSISTAnT
The Garden Museum Café’s beguiling courtyard really is a slice of serenity. A perfect lunch spot and place to ponder the museum’s horticultural-inspired exhibitions, diners are treated to a locally-sourced seasonal menu which changes daily. There’s something for everyone of course, but we especially like the cod’s roe, sweetbreads and asparagus fritti with whipped tarragon mayonnaise (which is even better when it’s mopped up by freshly baked fluffy focaccia). Make sure to book your table in advance of visiting the latest Wild & Cultivated: Fashioning the Rose exhibition, exploring the treatment of the rose in fashion from McQueen to Tim Walker. A feast for all senses!
José’s always has a bustling queue, operating on a first-come, first-serve basis. But once you’re in (or out, as tables spill out onto Bermondsey street) you’re welcomed into the deliciously chaotic atmosphere perfectly paired with a constant conveyor belt of tapas. Sizzling garlic prawns, honey-baked goat's cheese and piping hot peppers laced with anchovies are just a few of Jose’s highlights, but you’ll have to venture to Bermondsey to investigate the daily specials for yourself.