IT’S here! Chelsea Flower show opens tomorrow and 157,000 gardening lovers – the lucky ones who managed to get tickets – are set to descend on the chi chi London locale. Gardeners aren’t the only ones getting in to the spirit this year. Throughout Chelsea and its surrounds, London’s finest bars, boutiques and eateries are launching themed events and menus.
Revellers hitting Chelsea early can prepare at Peter Jones’ Brasserie cafe (www.johnlewis.com) in Sloane Square, which for the duration of the show is serving a “Blooming Botanical Breakfast” of freshly baked poppy seed bloomer, thyme butter, lavender honey, a blueberry muffin and yoghurt with fruit compote.
Lunch offers some similarly floral options. Tom Aikens’ Restaurant (www.tomaikens.co.uk) is serving a five-course flower themed menu, featuring scallops decorated in nasturtium flowers, chicken breast with marigolds and rhubarb served with rose and mint. Chelsea favourite Roussillon (www.roussillion.co.uk) and nearby Daphne’s (www.daphnes-restaurant.co.uk) will also be offering set gourmet menues with flowers. The Cinnamon Club (www.cinnamonclub.com), meanwhile, has created a package for guests including an eight-course tasting menu and a ticket to the show, for entry between 5.30pm and 8pm on Friday May 27th (£81), although be warned, tickets are strictly limited.
Should lunch move to tea, The Lanesborough (www.lanesborough.com) has launched a floral themed afternoon extravaganza at its restaurant Apsleys which includes blackberry violet cakes, strawberry hibiscus caramel éclairs, lavender carmelia champagne moulleux and raspberry lemon verbena millefeuille, created by Head Pastry Chef Tal Hausen. Ooh lala! The Four Seasons’ Amaranto (www.fourseasons.com) on Park Lane and Brown’s Hotel (www.brownshotel.com) in Mayfair are also offering similarly bloom-themed teas.
Then there’s cocktail hour. Here, The Botanist (www.thebotanistonsloanesquare.com) on Sloane Square, a hop skip and a jump from the show grounds, is offering a range of floral cocktails (apt really, since the venue itself was inspired by Chelsea Physic Garden benefactor, Sir Hans Sloane). Revellers can sip a Dusty Rose, made with white rose syrup and fresh pink grapefruit with Pinky vodka and a splash of fresh lime juice; or a Lavender Bloom, a delicious concoction of fresh aromatic lavender mixed with honey, Apricot du Roussillon liqueur and Champagne. Should the revelling continue, there’s always late night bar Barts around the corner (www.barts-london.com), serving The Chelsea Flower, a Grey Goose Vodka tipple mixed with Creme de Peche de vigne and Mette spiritueux de Lavande.
Further afield there’s also The Berkeley Hotel (www.the-berkeley.co.uk), where Laurent-Perrier, celebrating its 13th year at the Chelsea Flower Show has created a special floral champagne cocktail for the Blue Bar, made with strawberry puree and rose liqueur.
Next, it’s off to the shops. (If gazing at beautiful sun-kissed gardens doesn’t get you in the mood for a summer splurge, what else will?) Here, boutique perfumer Ormonde Jayne (www.ormondejayne.com), in honour of the event, is offering one complimentary mini candle in either Frangipani Absolute, Casablanca Lily or Osmanthus from its Chelsea store with every purchase. Jigsaw (www.jigsaw-clothing.com) at its Chelsea store will also be decked out with flowers for the duration of the show, giving out free seeds and complimentary fizz to customers. With all this going on, you may forget the Flower Show entirely...