Inn the Park
St James’s Park, London, SW1A 2BJ
- Recommended for:
- Families with teenagers, People watching, Relaxation
Expert review of Inn the Park
Inn the Park gives park cafés a good name: the great location near the duck (and pelican) pond is the main selling point, but the food is solid, sometimes excellent. I love to eat a leisurely lunch on the narrow, shaded terrace, rain or shine.
Oliver Peyton’s company now runs café-restaurants in several of London’s prime tourist locations. National Dining Rooms is the best for food, but Inn the Park, his first, shows the same focus on good-quality, seasonal British ingredients and catering to all-comers. You’ll find the café staples (sandwiches, pastries and cakes, tea, smoothies and juices, wine and beer) in the self-service section, but you can also get breakfast, a three-course lunch or dinner, afternoon tea and even cocktails. The food is often pretty interesting but always has safer options also - you might find starters of wood pigeon, blackcurrant and pickled walnuts or baked razor clams with mustard and garlic, mains of lamb chop, kidney and squash or grilled sea trout, courgettes and samphire.
Informal, of course, but it can get hectic in the self-service area - which isn’t always relaxing for diners in the restaurant alongside. A notch above ordinary park cafés, though.
Friendly and used to dealing with all ages and sizes of group.
Brilliant: right on a corner of the lovely waterfowl lake in St James’s Park. You’re right in central London - not far from busy Piccadilly and the Houses of Parliament, only unable to see Buckingham Palace because of the trees - but there will be herons, pelicans, ducks and coots are splashing about and greenery all around.
The great location is reflected in relatively high prices. A three-course lunch (without drinks) will cost around £28, which makes the three-course Sunday Roast worth considering at £27.50 (two courses are £23.50). A simple cream tea is decent value at £6.50, while for breakfast expect to pay £6.50 for porridge, rhubarb and orange compote, £5.50 for boiled eggs and soldiers and £11.50 for a Full English. There’s a dedicated children’s menu (sausages, chicken breast or fishcakes, £7.50; ice-cream, £2).
The lake-side terrace is the absolute prize - most tables are reserved for restaurant customers, but there are tables of self-service diners too. There are further restaurant tables indoors, while the uncovered upstairs terrace is for self-service custom only and cannot be reserved.
More information on Inn the Park:
- Price guide:
- Café, Restaurant, Tearoom
- British, Snacks
- St James’s Park, London, SW1A 2BJ
- 020 7451 9999
- Breakfast, Brunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner
- Opening times:
- Mon-Fri 8-11am, noon-9pm (Afternoon Tea 3-5pm); Sat-Sun 9am-11am, noon-4pm (Afternoon Tea 3-5pm), 6-9pm.
- Accepts Credit Cards:
- Free tags / Keywords:
- Al fresco