Summer in London is a very special thing: long sunny evenings (hopefully), friends, the pop of a champagne cork (or two) and laughing long into the night with friends. With so many places to enjoy the evenings it can be a little hard to pick somewhere. But three ladies with a love of hotels, champagne and each other’s company, Laura, Angie and I excitedly booked the DUKES picnic in the park!
DUKES is a member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection, which regular readers will know I’m a huge fan of.
It’s no secret around here that I love making my own picnic food… But that takes time, and energy. Since we had mid-week dinner plans and I wasn’t quite in the mood, I was more than happy to let someone else do the cooking for an evening! DUKES chefs will whip everything up for you, and as you arrive in DUKES’ quiet cul de sac in Mayfair, your butler will be ready and waiting for you with your picnic basket ready!
You can choose the traditional DUKES picnic, or the vegetarian option. We enjoyed the traditional option as I heard all about Angie’s upcoming trip to the Caribbean and Laura’s amazing travel plans for this year (I’m not sharing her secret so you’ll need to follow her blog for that one!
As we caught up about our future travel plans and my Mexico trip our butler unpacked our picnic. We had picked the perfect spot for an early evening treat, and he laid the blanket, unpacked the basket and popped the prosecco.
Our DUKES picnic included some poached Loch Duart salmon, which was perfectly cooked but could have done with a little slice of lemon to really bring out of its delicious flavour.
As we toasted to friendship, to summer and to many more plans in the making, we finally took a moment to appreciate the beautiful St James’ park surroundings, listen to the laughter coming (not just from us!) but from groups of friends all around us.
Now if that’s not a summer evening to toast to, I’m not sure what is!
With (the first round of!) toasts said, we started to tuck into more of our DUKES picnic! From delicious – and huge – goats cheese and chorizo scotch eggs, which were perfectly cooked, seasoned and delectable…
To spiced chicken brochette with courgette & cherry tomato, which was the overall favourite for this evening with it’s slight kick and perfectly cooked vegetables. And can we just appreciate how cute the picnic basket is?!
Side dishes of new potato salad with tarragon mustard and…
Chickpea salad with feta and mint, which has the most beautiful fresh, zingy taste to it, were all nibbled at as we poured glasses of champagne and talked about where we’d travel to next. From Thailand, to Stockholm, to staycations in the UK and to weekend breaks, the wanderlust was real around this picnic blanket!
To top the picnic off there were British artisan cheeses served with chutney and oat cakes, and little jars of roasted hazelnut granola and yogurt.
And delicious strawberries, too. Which just so happened to be perfect with another glass of champagne…
Though we also thought they’d be pretty perfect with some chocolate, too. The savoury dishes were wonderful, but we all couldn’t help thinking there was a little space left for something sweet which the picnic didn’t have.
Pick some friends, and let someone else organise the whole evening. All you have to do is turn up, your butler will sort everything, even down to choosing your perfect St James’ spot, crack the bubbly, and then best of all, he’ll come back and clear it all up when you’re finished.
So if you ask me, there’s no better way to celebrate a great English summer evening than with good food, great weather and even better friends!
Oh, and some more champagne never hurt anyone..!
I just have my fingers crossed that picnic weather comes back – and stays for a while! ‘Cause I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer yet!
DUKE Picnic is available for £39.50 per person. To book contact +44 (0) 207 318 6574 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our picnic was complimentary.