Al fresco dining at the Chelsea Physic Garden

A magical al fresco evening…
We were sweltering in our office in 29 degree heat when the latest Chelsea Physic Garden newsletter arrived in our inbox publicising their short season of late night Wednesday openings, this is a rare treat to be able to see this wonderful garden well into the night and the added attraction for us was the rare opportunity to dine at the Tangerine Dream (Chelsea Physic Garden Café).

Chelsea Physic Garden - London's oldest botanical garden
Chelsea Physic Garden - The Apothecaries Garden

We’ve been chilling out at the Chelsea Physic Garden for some time now and all agree it is an inspirational London destination. This secret walled garden is London’s oldest botanic garden which dates back to 1673 when it was originally leased to the Society of Apothecaries. At just two minutes walk from the designer shops in the Kings Road it’s a wonderful place to take a break from the fray and just soak up the wonderful aromatic smell of herbs and scented blossoms and the sense of history you get when walking through the ancient planting.

Medicinal plants and herbs at London's Chelsea Physic Garden
Medicinal plants and herbs at London's oldest botanical garden - The Chelsea Physic Garden

The café at the Chelsea Physic Garden – Tangerine Dream is open for lunch every day throughout the summer but to dine here is a precious one night a week treat for a brief end of summer interlude (until 7th Sept) and getting a table is not easy!
Our Tip: Visit the garden early and around 5.00pm on a ‘late night opening’ ask if there are any cancellations – they will do their best to squeeze you in for the 6.30 sitting. The chef David Hughes and his small team work their magic from a diminutive kitchen to produce a fabulous seasonal fixed menu of 3 courses at £25.
These evenings are hugely over-subscribed but do make the effort…

Al fresco dining in West London
Al fresco dining at Tangerine Dream Café - The Chelsea Physic Garden

The food is served at wooden tables arranged on the lawn in front of the 17th Century curator’s house and is the perfect spot for observing the the gardens and the visitors.
These evenings are a quintessentially English affair, men in crumpled linen suits and women in Bloomsbury style floral dresses and panama hats potter around the lawns. At around 8.30 the gentle sound of applause from the top windows announces the end of the evening lecture and the remaining tables are eagerly occupied.
Without listing the whole menu – let’s just say our mixed antipasti and lobster were sublime, the lamb was cooked to perfection – oh and have the summer pudding!

Lobster salad - Tangerine Dream Cafe, Chelsea London UK
Half lobster, herb butter, aioli and mixed leaves

Admission to the Chelsea Physic Garden £8
Become a friend £35 for the year (unlimited access)
Tel: 00442073525646

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