Are you a sports fan with a loathing for sports bars? Fear not, The Refinery Bankside has teamed up with Bacardi to soothe your lust for feats of physical prowess and flying objects with a cheerful holiday vibe. Until the 31st of August, their Great British Summer pop-up is screening Wimbledon and the Olympics on a sunlit terrace behind the Hayward Gallery. They have deck chairs (love a deck chair) as well as rum-based cocktails. Olé!
We started with juicy green olives, spiced nuts and the Maid In Cuba, a rather culturally insensitive title for a refreshing mixture of rum, lime and cucumber with a subtle Absinthe rinse. Watching Venus Williams duel with someone I was convinced was Sharapova until brought up to speed, we munched on a delicious platter of Napoli flatbread doused with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella. It was so large that I managed to convince myself our crispy salt & pepper squid with lemon mayonnaise was a side dish, not also a starter.
Though the burgers appeared to be the most popular item, it was (miracle of miracles) too hot for us to go comfortably gorge on Wagyu beef and Stilton. Instead, the chargrilled tuna salad with green papaya, cucumber and lime dressing had a zesty oriental flavour, with a delicate spray of roasted peanuts. The Pollock special with asparagus, prawn and squid was tender and light, perfectly accompanied by Roman fries with parmesan, truffle and rosemary.
To round things off, I took a Hooker In Havana (I jest- the Green Tea Punch) a lovely twist on a classic mojito with Sencha and mint tea. It cut very nicely through the richness of the dark chocolate and sea salt caramel tart, as well as a sweet and crunchy strawberry pavlova. Combining an engaging crowd with spacious seating to allow for a proper view, the Great British Summer is a lively lounge spot for a sunny day, spent watching other people sweat.
Originally published at Eclectic Magazine online.