Camden’s pan-Asian restaurant, Gilgamesh, and west London’s German theme bar, The Fest, are showing live matches in glorious HD and plasma purity and there are free outdoor screenings at Cardinal Place near Victoria, Bankside Mix behind Tate Modern, and New Street Square near Holborn Circus. But, let’s face it, it’s one thing to watch the tennis in comfort, but it’s another to assume the good English breeding and rigid backbone identity of tennis. So here’s to proper living, what, what!
Probably London’s most extravagant Wimbledon addiction can be seen at Bluebird on Chelsea’s King's Road, where the entire cobbled forecourt terrace has been covered in Astroturf, then decorated with giant tennis balls, a central canopy, and a 3m x 2m outdoor TV. For the men’s and women’s finals, Bluebird has a special Champagne Lanson lunch menu available (£60, 3 courses, booking advisable). Gosh, how splendid!
Special tennis cocktails are causing a right racket these days, with The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz creating the gin-based 'Deuce' concoction (£17) to compliment their live match screenings, The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge offering a “CC: Wimbledon Martini’ (£12 in the bar, or complimentary at the the Capital restaurant when dining) along with a Wimbledon Lounge complete with 42-inch TV, whilst Harrison’s of Balham has also gone with tennis themed drinks and screens.
The location of choice for your tennis madness could prove telling, so it might be beneficial to opt for opulent surrounds. High above the Carnaby Street shopping masses, the tennis-lovers’ haven, Soho Sky Terrace, has refreshing cocktails, big screen action and an all-weather cover, just in case.
The Langham near Oxford Circus has a pop-up Terrace Garden featuring classic summer beverages, sharing platters and a selected range of goodies for cigar aficionados. The adjacent indoor lounge and bar has a large flat screen plasma TV. Delightful.
Furthering the terrace tennis theme, Coq d’Argent will have a duo of large outdoor screens - to compliment the strawberries, white chocolate chantilly cream and bubbly on offer - and The Bingham in Richmond has a Wimbledon Hospitality package for the men’s final: tennis on a big screen in the Garden Rooms, inclusive glass of champagne or Pimm's, a light summer lunch with sommelier’s selection of wines, plus tea, coffee and petits fours (£95 per head). Rather!
The afternoon tea is possibly the most traditionally decadent way to enjoy the centre court action, and here are four of the best to inspire you:
Swissôtel The Howard, London - Mauve Lounge has the usual finger sandwiches, scones, strawberry jam and pot of Twinings tea, but also shortbread biscuits shaped as tennis rackets, tennis balls, centre net and strawberries; all resting atop of an edible green lawn court! (£32 with the option of a jug of Pimm’s starting from £10).
The five star The Royal Horseguards Hotel in Whitehall not only has a stunning sun terrace overlooking Embankment Gardens and the London Eye (how very English) but a £28 afternoon tea that includes homemade tennis ball truffles filled with either champagne jelly, strawberry ganache or fresh mint leaves crushed to create mint ganache. I say!
Meanwhile, The Wimbledon Afternoon Tea from The Promenade at The Dorchester includes champagne, strawberries and cream and tennis-inspired pastries (like the citrus court and coconut smash), whilst the limited edition tennis tea at Kettner’s in Soho has all the usual tea-sandwich-scone grandeur plus red velvet and lavender cupcakes, all for only £15.
If it’s a sweet Wimbledon celebration you yearn for, the Homage de Wimbledon strawberries and cream tennis ball (pictured above) as sampled by yours truly recently at The Eastside Inn is just insane!
AND FOR THOSE WHO JUST FANCY NOTHING FANCY.....
Pizza Express Wimbledon are paying tribute to Andy Murray with their renamed ‘Murray-Gherita’ pizza in honour of Murray’s late visit to Pizza Express Wimbledon last year after his epic five set match against Stanislas Wawrinka.
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