Sometimes where I like to eat does not have as much to do with the food that is on offer, but the atmosphere and location. Recently when I was on the hunt for somewhere to have a quick lunch meeting (which also doubled as a catch up with an old school friend) in Bayswater, I settled on Urban Meadow Cafe, just off Hyde Park and with a lovely outdoor terrace where I could sit with some work and a nice glass of rosé beforehand.
The menu is light, fresh and Summery. It reminded me a lot of Los Angeles food, but also very English with the ingredients. Big fresh salads, small plates, vibrant ingredients. Just the sort of thing you want to be eating in this weather and with lots of choice. I was honestly torn between so much on there.
Rosie opted to go down the salad route, and chose the Quinoa and Goats Cheese Salad with edamame beans, cherry tomato and a red wine vinegar dressing. It was light and fresh, though not something that either of us could not have really easily achieved at home. A nice dish paired with the atmosphere though, none the less.
I opted to go for the Avocado Toast on the 'Grazing' menu, and the tomato side salad. Both of them were not what I expected. I'd expected the avocado toast to be, well, avocado toast. However, while the crostini did make my fingers a little greasy and it was a lot more effort than I'd liked, my avocado-dish-ting was delicious. My tomato salad was also nice, and seasoned well with salt. However, I did have one massive problem with it. In London, in the middle of July there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for a restaurant to not be serving up ripe tomatoes. They would have made this dish from an okay salad, which I could have done a better job myself on, to something truly enjoyable.
When we stepped inside to pay (the bill was very reasonable) I spotted the lines of pastries in the window; as the cafe is all day, I should think it would also make for a great breakfast meeting spot. We also noticed a table inside tucking into the most epic looking open sandwiches, which made us decide that we really, really made the wrong menu choices.
I know I use 'Places To Eat In London' mostly to write glowing reviews of places I'd love for you to discover, and that I don't write negative reviews. Regular readers will notice, however, that I do review a place that I've had an okay experience at if it has something I'd really recommend it for; Jackson & Rye in Soho, for example, I'd only push you in the direction of for the cocktails, cookies and desserts. So, why should you visit Urban Meadow Cafe? They have a fantastic patio area that is quiet during the lunch hour with no problem of getting a seat, they have good, reasonable house wine and there is reasonable food to graze on, in the shade if you wish. In London at the moment, what more can you ask for?
Have any of you been to Urban Meadow Cafe before, and can confirm my suspicion that the menu is very hit and miss? Also, I'd love to hear of any more places with outdoor seating areas you'd recommend in the city. I'd like to go right ahead here and throw Beagle in Hoxton into the mix here, The Boundary Rooftop (where I've only been for drinks but I'm desperate to eat) in Shoreditch, and that I really, really want to head outside at The Chiltern Firehouse and on the roof of Selfridges before the Summer is out.