By Bethany Wivell
The opportunity to dine outside is much sought after in the UK, especially as the window of opportunity is so small (we can hardly call what we get ‘Summer’). As a result, some of London’s top restaurants are offering diners a little slice of heaven with a terrace they can enjoy all year round and without the cost of a trip to the Mediterranean.
Coq d’Argent and Le Pont de la Tour are two of the best restaurants in the country. Owned by D&D London, they infact make up a group of some of the best restaurants in the world. Both offer fine French cuisine accompanied by fine vintage wine but most importantly they both offer fine dining al fresco!
Coq d’Argent is the work of the distinguished architect, Sir James Stirling, and occupies the site of the former Mappin & Webb, next to the Bank of England.
Since 1998 Coq d’Argent has been one of London’s favourite places for grand celebrations, corporate dining and business meetings. This elegant restaurant offers distinction and style for all occasions and the terrace offers something truly unique.
Two glass lifts take guests to the restaurant and its stunning gardens on the sixth floor, which has been redesigned to become a cosy winter paradise. With a black and white theme, plenty of fairy lights and warm fur blankets, it is the perfect place for alfresco drinking and dining in the coldest months of the year. Warm up and enjoy their new selection of soothing cocktails after a long day at work and taking in the breathtaking views across the city. Head chef Mickael Weiss has also created some seasonal hot treats, including traditional mulled wine and a fruity mulled apple mixed with cinnamon, vanilla and brandy. The terrace caters for just over 100 people and is available for private hire – you’d definitely be heading into the New Year in style.
In summer the terrace is transformed back into a sun seekers haven. The rooftop garden, originally designed by Arabella Lennox-Boyd, takes its inspiration from Corbusier’s Fifth Elevation and has views to St Paul’s Cathedral at the rear. The two central terraces are surrounded by huge wisteria and uva fragola vines, which create an enclosed and romantic atmosphere against the backdrop of the big and bustling city. So if you want to escape from the concrete heat, take a lift up to the sixth floor and enter eutopia.
Le Pont de la Tour is both the name and the backdrop to this stylish riverside restaurant offering unparalleled views of the London skyline. With views of the Tower Bridge second to none, the al fresco tables are hot property, so I’d get here early to ensure your seat.
A brilliant list of Champagnes, full of energy and imagination is what marks Le Pont de la Tour out from its competitors and this winter, Lanson Champagne house have been invited in to help celebrate the restaurant’s 20th birthday and create an alfresco bar to soak up the spectacular scenery.
In the summer the terrace crustacean bar serves shellfish and seafood as an alternative to the traditional French a la carte menu and is perfect for the palette during the warmer months. Tom Cook creates a traditional yet innovative French inspired menu and brings with him years of experience working alongside some of the world’s renowned chefs. With expert training in Paris, his pastries are a gift from god and are not to be missed so if you’re feeling peckish, indulge with a pan au chocolate, a class of Pimms and watch La sun set.