With bars and restaurants all chomping at the bit to get back in business, I think it's fair to say that outdoor dining has taken many shapes and sizes. Dim lighting, chattering teeth and soggy seats all spring to mind... However, I found a Marylebone beauty that is showing London how to do alfresco dining right.
Nestled along a charming road that looks like something out of a Richard Curtis film set, 108 Brasserie oozes sophistication right from the offset. Climbing foliage and pretty fairy lights are paired with chic tables and chairs, setting the scene for a very stylish meal. Along the lane are other places filled with outdoor drinkers and diners which gives the area a real cafe culture vibe. However, as we are sadly not our European neighbours, heaters are handily positioned at regular intervals.
Soaking in our new-found freedom, I opt for a White Queen (£14) from their signature cocktail list. Made with pear liqueur, lime juice and their own gin distilled on-site, it arrives with a carefully balanced apple slice and flower levitating on top. It's so pretty I could cry. We get the metaphorical ball rolling with a classic buffalo milk burrata with tomatoes, basil pesto and toasted bread (£15). Fluffy, if a little lacking in the goo department, it's delicious and makes for a nice light start to the meal. Under our waiter Bryan's wise recommendation, we have the sea bass ceviche (£17) with baby corn, avocado, lime and tortillas, which is refreshing and full of flavour. An added plus: all the fish on their globally-inspired menu is sustainably and responsibly caught.
On to the main event, and the star of the show has got to be the grilled tiger prawns (£28). Laden with a zingy mango, chilli and lime relish, bites are meaty and taste like summer. Although the dukkah-spiced rump of lamb (£34) makes for a worthy adversary. Served alongside rose harissa, smoked aubergine and a herb tabbouleh, this one's sure to go down a storm with meat fans. Chilli and lemon topped tender stem broccoli (£6) and a small bucket of fries (£5.50) provide us with tasty, if a little expensive, sides.
Turning to dessert, and following our rich meal we are getting fuller by the second. To admit defeat? Never. Instead, we turn to Bryan for advice. Two for two - he also suggested the prawns - the man can do no wrong in our eyes. Up comes a picture-perfect brownie (£10) with vanilla ice cream and honeycomb bites. However, it's the indulgent creme brulee with shortbread (£9) that gets the better of us, but damn they were good.
The DesignMyNight Digest
If you're after somewhere for a special meal, or just fancy treating yourself to a classy evening, 108 Brasserie is a great choice. While this place is undeniably on the higher end of the price spectrum, the location, atmosphere and service is top-notch and the dishes here are made using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. Also, now that we can officially dine inside, the suave interiors (from the brief look I got of inside) make it the perfect spot for date night drinks.
For more great places to eat in the area, check out our guide to restaurants in Marylebone here.