London's best barbecues

Nothing is more satisfying than the sizzle of a summer barbecue

Hog Roast Hog Roast - © Rob Greig

Every sunny-day session should be accompanied by the tempting aromas emanating from the barbecue. Our favourite barbecues provide more than just fuel to soak up the drink – most of them are gastronomic destinations in themselves.

A quick caveat: we don’t want to rain on your parade, but given the vagaries of our weather, not to mention the vagaries of some venues, always phone ahead and make sure the barbecue is on – hot coals and torrential downpours don’t mix

Time Out's guide to barbecues in east London

  • Britannia

    360 Victoria Park Rd, Victoria Park, E9 7BT (020 8533 0040)

    The Britannia’s score of picnic tables are serviced by a purpose-built outdoor kitchen that’s bigger than most Victorian bandstands. It has an extensive menu, separate from the indoor offering, that runs from the ‘infamous burger’, jerk ribs and skin-on handmade chips to grilled mackerel; there are healthy salads too, if you’re seasonally self-conscious about your waistline. The list of thirst-quenchers is also impressive – you’ll find Meantime Pale Ale and often Wandle Ale on draught. Best of all is the pub’s lively events programme, with the Artisan Market for local arts and crafts taking place outdoors on last Saturdays (weather permitting) and an upcoming return for their alfresco film screenings. Read more

  • Water Poet

    9-11 Folgate St, Spitalfields, E1 6BX (020 7426 0495)

    This trendy twist on a traditional boozer is one of the few places to soak up the sun near the City. Attracting a mix of open-collared suits and a Shoreditch/Spitalfields crowd, the Water Poet boasts an ace outdoor space in which to sip a pint of Landlord or Truman’s Runner. The barbecue is currently in action weekdays and Saturdays from noon, with a hog roast firing up most Saturdays at around 5pm – weather permitting, of course. The sirloin steak ciabatta is a deservedly popular choice, though it’s worth checking out the more unusual options: a burger of spiced monkfish cheeks, quails studded with rosemary and thyme, or skewers of lamb marinated in chilli and coconut (served with tsatsiki in a pitta). It all comes with a choice of cold salads (potato and fennel with a mustard dressing, say), so you won’t go home hungry. Read more

  • Mama's Jerk Station at Vibe Bar

    Old Truman Brewery, 91-95 Brick Lane, E1 6QL (07876 345 380)

    Vibe Bar’s large outdoor area, in the cobbled courtyard of the former Truman Brewery, remains a magnet for trendy Brick Lane alfresco drinkers come rain or shine. Mama’s Jerk Station has been feeding spiced-up chicken, home-made sausages and sweet potato cakes to hungry revelers for a few years. Presided over by Mama herself and a couple of friendly and enthusiastic fellow jerkers, the grill’s menu focuses on Caribbean favourites done well – the chicken, for instance, is marinated for 24 hours before it’s deemed ready for the grill. Prices are keen – £4.50 for most grills, served in a wrap with ‘secret recipe’ exotic mayo, pepper sauce and rocket. The coals are fired up from 6-11.30pm on Monday to Friday, and every Saturday and Sunday from noon until the Vibe Bar closing time. You’ll also find outposts at Camden Lock Market on weekdays, Portobello Road Market on Saturdays, and at various small festivals throughout the summer. Read more

  • A Grelha at The Gun

    27 Coldharbour, Docklands, E14 9NS (020 7515 5222)

    Take a seat by the river and enjoy one of the most ambitious pub barbecues in London. A Grelha is the Portuguese-themed outdoor grill next to the famous Gun gastropub, and it occupies a sunny, functional and smart terrace looking out over Bugsby’s Marshes, now better known as the resting place of the O2. The food is not your average barbecue fare: ingredients for such dishes as a classic cataplana (fish stew), shell-on tiger prawns served with garlic and chilli and red snapper are bought in daily from nearby Billingsgate, but there are also meaty options (chorizo flamed in Medronho, lamb skewers). Wet your whistle with draught Super Bock or something from the Portuguese wine list. When we’ve visited in previous years, relatively high prices haven’t been matched by perfect service, but catch A Grehla on a good day and you might find the most accomplished alfresco grill in the city. Read more