Don’t you just love summer? Beer gardens, crisp cider, Pimm’s and BBQs, what’s not to like? I was in London last week visiting Holly and Dicky in Wimbledon and it was a nice and sunny Saturday. I have lived in the UK long enough to know that if the sun is out, drop everything and go out! Chances are that it won’t last too long. With that in mind, we decided to find a nice beer garden and grab some food (and drinks obviously) making the most of the good fortunes. Dicky suggested we go to The Leather Bottle in Earslfield, which is short 20 minute walk from Wimbledon. So we packed our sunglasses and decided to walk to the Leather Bottle.
The Leather Bottle on Garratt Lane is an historic pub that opened over 300 years ago. It started as a small inn but has transformed itself over the years into what is today a destination pub in South West London. What makes this place special though is its vast gardens which has been voted ‘best beer garden in London’ by Cosmopolitan Magazine in the past. And I can definitely see why!
You can’t really miss The Leather Bottle with a sign that big right outside. We walked in skipping the restaurant completely and walked straight into the ‘best beer garden in London’.
Summertime was in full swing. The BBQ was hot and smelled wonderful and you have enough seating to lounge lazily under the sun while enjoying some cider. Perfect!
The outside bar and BBQ is named after the pub dog Tom. Isn’t that cute? But my favourite feature had to be the garden beach huts complete with comfy cushions and private TV screens. You have to book these out in advance but what a good idea. They also have a beach volleyball court but they are in the process of converting this into a full fledged beach! Where else in London do you have a beach in a beer garden? I am definitely going to be coming back.
We got to the Leather Bottle at around 1 and luckily enough found a good spot right under the sun. What’s the first thing we did? Order a jug of Pimm’s ofcourse!
We browsed through the special Tom’s Bar and Barbecue menu as we gulped down the Pimm’s. I really like this menu, it’s simple good British pub food made right in front of you. They operate on a self service model here ( like most pubs) so we went up to the counter and ordered our food and some more drinks and waited.
We kept looking at the buzzer waiting for it to buzz so that we could go pick up our food which you could smell being prepared right behind you. It felt like the longest 10 minutes of my life!
Thank god for the Pimm’s! Every table had a herb plant on it and we had mint on our table which we used to add an extra kick to our Pimm’s. It really was a bucket full of sunshine!
It was a brilliant day in London and we were going to make the most of it.
And before we knew it, our buzzer lit up and I ran to get us some food.
Seb and Holly got the Halloumi and Grilled Aubergine Burger with Red Pesto Dressing, Chips and Summerslaw. It was summer on a plate! The halloumi and the aubergine were nice and smokey and the chips were spot on – crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The summerslaw a little too watery but it was still just as delicious.
Dicky went for the Pulled Pork Sandwich with Chips and Summerslaw. The pulled pork was absolutely perfect, again simple pub food done well.
I decided to go for the mother of all hot dogs at The Leather Bottle – The Bailey Dog, which is a hot dog loaded with Venison Chilli, Chips and Summerslaw. I was in hot dog heaven. The pork sausage was full of flavour and the venison chill definitely added a kick to this dish. I was disappointed with the bread though, it was just a bit too dry and hard.
These chips however were spot on, I can’t stop talking about them because they really were that good! I would happily come back to the Leather Bottle just for its chips.
I washed down the hot dog with some Rekorderlig passion fruit cider. I was in summer heaven.
3 hours in, it was time to go home unfortunately as we had other plans but I could have happily stayed at the Leather Bottle drinking and eating for the rest of the afternoon. I am definitely going to be getting one of the beach huts next time though.
So what did I think of the Leather Bottle? Go for the beer garden, but stay for the food. It’s everything you want from a pub – good reasonably priced food, a variety of drink options and some beach huts of course!