Although the weather has turned prematurely autumnal in August we are still holding out hope that we get a little more summer sun. However, even if the winds are a little cooler why not stretch the summer vibe with a barbecue meal in a secluded garden in the middle of the city?
The Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury is located just next to the British Museum and is a bit of a hidden treasure. Traditionally British in it’s decor, something that appeals to their many US guests no doubt, it is the secret terrace and garden out the back that provides a welcome oasis from the bustle of London life.
Covered and with heaters installed to take the chill out of the air, this serene space overlooks the private Montague Street Gardens and is the perfect place for a quiet meal or to host a sophisticated cocktail party or informal reception.
You have the choice of the al a carte menu or the barbecue menu in the garden, but my dining companion and I weren’t ready to say goodbye to the barbecue season yet so opted for that. The menu is mainly made up of gourmet burgers in brioche buns all served with a side salad and chunky chips. After ordering we were brought a bread selection with a fascinating choice of salts – a gourmet rock salt, smoked salt and the unusual vanilla salt. While my favourite was the vanilla, my companion chose the smoked to add flavour to her bread and butter and later her chips.
As the chef cooked our beef and veggie burgers on the outdoor grill we were treated to an appetiser of their aubergine and caraway seed soup, with warming Mediterranean flavours that whet our appetites.
The vegetarian burger offered generous layers of Portobello mushroom, halloumi and aubergine while the beef burger, though over-cooked, was substantial and filling.
We had just about enough room to try one of the signature desserts. I chose the velvety vanilla cheesecake with honeycomb ice-cream while my friend indulged in a banoffee sundae which was truly decadent.
Like all of the Red Carnation properties the staff are friendly, attentive and interested, a credit to the Tollman family who own the group and count their staff as their best asset. To be honest the hardest thing about this whole experience was leaving the secret courtyard garden that seemed miles away from lively London and going back to work!
The barbecue menu for Al Fresco dining at the Garden Grill in available until late September. The Montague on the Gardens, 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 5BJ, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 207 637 1001, nearest tube: Russell Square.