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Photograph: Time Out
Photograph: Time Out

This garden restaurant is haunting my every waking hour

I forgot to book a post-lockdown table and now I’m so jealous I could cry

By
Kate Lloyd
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I didn’t book any tables anywhere for the first weeks of Outdoor Dining Season because I like to keep my social life deeply disorganised (don’t judge me). I’m largely fine with that. Or at least I was until my Instagram became a constant stream of Rochelle Canteen pictures last week.

My Insta stories were riddled with clips of the restaurant’s coral-stained rhubarb pavlovas and crackling-laden pork chops. Every time I opened the app I’d be haunted by nice-looking ‘modern European’ dishes: burnished spring veg, bold pink steaks, crisp barbecued fish...

But why the sudden rush for Rochelle?

Maybe it’s because the Shoreditch restaurant – a former bike shed in a gated garden in Arnold Circus – is the kind of spot that Jolene and Top Cuvée stans raved about before they raved about Jolene and Top Cuvée. Yes, I am talking about myself here. It does ‘good ingredients cooked simply but better than you ever could’ dishes, the ones it’s impossible to recreate in a tiny kitchen in lockdown (even with a meal kit).

But more importantly, it also has a leafy dining terrace, which is as close as you’ll ever come to a cute little pocket of Continental holiday within 2km of Boxpark. My point being? That unlike Jolene and Top Cuvée it is currently open.

Why didn’t I think to book myself a little table there for the first weeks of Outdoor Dining Season? I have no bloody idea. But the result has been me spending a week poring over pictures of juicy-looking Campari sorbet and constantly refreshing Resy to try and get one of the few remaining tables. I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and seen FOMO staring back. Envy has white-water-rafted through my veins. In short: I’ve been extremely jealous. 

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Luckily, I am now booked in. I’ve got a table for one lined up there for lunch next week and I’m going to take a trashy novel and order a good glass of wine and it’s all going to be very ideal. This is a reminder to do the same or else a dark cloud of sadness will follow you for eternity.

Discover London’s best outdoor restaurants.

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