restaurants
Serpentine Bar and Kitchen
Serpentine Road, Hyde Park
011 44 207 706 8114

The airy, delightful Serpentine Bar and Kitchen situated in Hyde Park is a culinary surprise in what could have been just another touristy outpost. With a grab and go set up in the front - packaged salads, an ice cream counter, desserts, cookies, fruit, potato chips (or as the British call them 'packets of crisps') - all the things ready for a picnic - and a cafeteria style set up inside (queue up, place your order, for food and wine or beer, which is then brought to your table), you wouldn't expect the food to be this good. You'd expect it to be fast - and it is - but it's also thoughtful. Ingredients are fresh and carefully prepared and no detail is missed. Offerings are split between simple British fare with a menu that changes seasonally; think a fish special (the day we were there, pureed crab in bread crumbs and a light cream sauce, served with a side salad), a daily roast sandwich (ours, a lovely lean pork with chunky apple compote and wonderfully bready stuffing, a steal at £6), rhubarb and sherry trifle, and from what we could see, their most popular lunch item, the extensive pizza menu. Whether pizza or more lunch fare though, it's clear they thought about value as all items are under £10. While it's a bit hectic, with servers trying to clear as quickly as they can, customers linger either in the cozy alcove over cakes and afternoon tea or brave the weather over drinks and bar snacks on the outdoor terrace area overlooking the lake, making finding a table at high noon a bit of a game. (Well worth the effort, but hint, they also do breakfast and dinner.)

$

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