If it’s Saturday, it’s food day, at least in Girlahead’s eyes – not that she doesn’t eat every other day of the week, of course. The image above sets this week’s theme, eating outside.
Technically of course the private dining room shown here is not in the open air. The Garden Table is in what BELLAGIO, Las Vegas, calls its Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, currently, until 10th September, themed as Jungle of Dreams. Eat, surrounded by over 10,000 flowers, and pink flamingos, ornate blue parrots, monkeys, blue herons, giraffes, and a 20-foot-tall lion, along with a theatrical soundtrack of bird, cricket and wind sounds.
The food is orchestrated by Bellagio VP Food & Beverage Josef Wagner. Set menus feature lunches by Bellagio’s Sardelle, run by Mario Cardone’s Major Food Group (his empire includes the fabulous Ken Fulk-designed Contessa atop THE NEWBURY BOSTON). At dinner, menus come from MICHAEL MINA Bellagio and include his best-selling Ahi Tuna Tartare with mint, pine nuts, Asian pear, and habanero-infused sesame oil.
Years ago, THE PENINSULA BANGKOK set a table in its herb garden to complement its existing Thai restaurant and its separate Terrace restaurant – all three dining venues come with fascinating Chao Phraya river-traffic views. Across that river, eat Italian on the terrace of MANDARIN ORIENTAL BANGKOK. Hot sticky humidity hampers regular outdoor dining in such key world centres as Hong Kong and Singapore and, for much of the year, in the Middle East, but in Dubai FOUR SEASONS DUBAI JUMEIRAH BEACH can offer Greek, or plant-based, and MADINAT JUMEIRAH has outdoor French bistro, Japanese, Mexican, and PierChic seafood when the weather allows.
In Paris, many palace hotels were built around central courtyards, which allow Summer-long eating-out at, say, LE BRISTOL, PARK HYATT PARIS-VENDOME, PLAZA-ATHENEE and more. In London, INTERCONTINENTAL PARK LANE’s former GM, Alvaro Rey, campaigned local authorities for years, eventually successfully, to get permission to put pavement tables overlooking Hyde Park Corner (and now his successor reaps the benefits). In Switzerland, BAUR AU LAC benefits from investment in substantial umbrellas on its Terrace – at BURGENSTOCK, if it rains in the middle of a mouthful, alert servers seem to arrive with portable umbies in seconds.
Highlight celeb dining out is probably The Polo Patio at Dorchester Collection’s THE BEVERLY HILLS HOTEL, named ultimately after Beverly Farms in Massachusetts by Burton Green who in 1900 purchased land in the area for the Amalgamated Oil Company, to start oil exploration. If you’re lucky enough to get a table, you are surrounded by gorgeous nature and meticulously groomed flowers and, equally titivated, the Who’s Who of Hollywood. Girlahead will be back there in a couple of weeks and she may well once again choose a McCarthy salad – lettuce, chicken, beetroot, eggs, tomato, avocado, smoked bacon, Cheddar and Balsamic vinaigrette – named after a 1940s polo legend, Neil McCarthy.
Let’s listen to Dorchester Collection’s media-savvy COO, François Delahaye: