Laurent-Perrier x Sea Containers Summer Terrace collaboration proves that eating al-fresco is here to stay
London has seen a surge in outdoor dining space since the pandemic, and Laurent-Perrier x Sea Containers Summer Terrace is showing us why that’s not changing anytime soon
As the city begins to stutter its way into opening back up, Londoners have taken this somewhat unique opportunity to embrace what their European counterparts have been telling them to do for years: eating al-fresco. Once considered a novelty reserved for either high-end banker-filled wine terraces or that one place your friend knows that he says definitely had an outdoor heater last time he was there, it seems like every restaurant has dived head-first into making use of every inch of even the most minuscule outdoor spaces, even those only tangentially related to the establishment in question.
It's always been something that has captivated me - made me feel somewhat free, even amid the uniquely damp climes of the UK. But few establishments in the capital have capitalised on the trend more effectively than Sea Containers, which is currently in the throes of a collaboration with Laurent-Perrier for its Summer Terrace offering, perfect for a romantic dinner for two, fancy brunch with friends and everything in between.
The terrace, upon arrival, is quite a sight. A foliage-clad oasis set just metres back from the rapid currents of the Thames on the South Bank, it offers stunning views across the water to St Paul’s Cathedral and the towering glass high rises of the City of London, angled perfectly so as to maximise sunset exposure; a visit would be worth the journey for location alone.
Few details have been overlooked, with even the plants used for decor serving as a celebration of the great British hedgerow in line with the hotel’s newly launched ‘Hedgerow by Agua’ skincare and ingredients line - think Field Maple and Hazel trees, Barrenwort and Coral Bells. This exterior was designed alongside the Bankside Opens Spaces Trust, so all materials and lasting plants for the Summer Terrace will be given to neighborhood areas and reused in future establishments.
Upon taking a seat with my partner, I find myself - for the first time in my life - pleasantly surprised by the introduction of an unnanounced third guest to our table: a bottle of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Champagne. As we chat and make our orders, the hospitality team springs into action, offering frequent drink top ups, detailed descriptions of the food and even offering to take a picture of us.
Our starters were a masterclass in subtlety. The lobster and celeriac toast was bright yet creamy, with a zesty hint of lemon offering a robust tang, while the vanilla cured salmon and beetroot tartare are rife with complex acidic notes and, predictably, colour.
The mains, meanwhile, were all about punch. I opted for the dry-aged ribeye steak, seared to perfection with a wonderful peppercorn reduction and intensely flavoured shallots that countered the umami meat with a gentle, if slightly tart, sweetness. My partner, who took on the cod with chardonnay vinaigrette, found herself awash with summery flavours - this is quintessentially Mediterranean fare, where simplicity takes centre stage and the ingredients speak for themselves which, as always, is a testament to the cooking staff.
For a thoroughly metropolitan experience accompanied by fine champagne, superb food and spectacular views across the city, you could do far worse than Sea Containers.