Last year, restaurants went to great lengths to remain open for business in the face of Covid; across the country, tents and gazebos were erected on lawns, while patches of previously unused land were claimed for greenhouses and pods to house guests observing the rule of six.
One restaurant went even further – with no outdoor space to plunder, the owners of Prawn on the Lawn in Padstow decided to up sticks entirely and set up camp at Trerethern Farm, which overlooks the coastal town. Thus Prawn on the Farm was born, and in two weeks, Katie and Rick Toogood will open their 52-seater restaurant in a marquee once more. ‘Round two is going to be bigger, better and more delicious than before,’ they promise, and it’s an ambition shared by many other venues that will welcome back customers outside from Monday.
Petersham Nurseries in Richmond has always brought the outside in, so doing the opposite is a breeze: guests will dine under greenhouse-style roofs and heaters, surrounded by plants.
Meanwhile, The Big Outdoor Lunch launches at The Pig hotels, with ingredients sourced from within 25 miles for the menu served on their pretty terraces in Hampshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Kent. In anticipation, each restaurant has shared a recipe for its signature dish to whet your appetite.
“For a quick lunch or snack, we wanted to offer our guests a relaxed but relatively speedy alternative to eating in the restaurant. But what? One day, we looked around the kitchen and we had stacks of home-grown tomatoes and some fantastic local cheese – flatbreads cooked in our outdoor wood-fired ovens were the answer. It’s an easy recipe that keeps the emphasis on the toppings and cooks perfectly well in a regular oven, too. With the tomato sauce, try charcuterie, olives and fresh herbs. With the wild-garlic pesto, we use lightly steamed seasonal veg scattered with goat’s cheese and edible flowers.”