ABOVE: The Lanesborough is at Hyde Park Corner, almost within a Champagne cork's popping distance of your London picnic.
We've been leery of alfresco lunches in London ever since we witnessed an East End street vendor selling canned hamburgers from a cart more than 30 years ago.
Still, it is possible to enjoy fresh air and fresh food at the same time in Britain's capital, and The Lanesborough (a five-star hotel at Hyde Park Corner) has unveiled a "Butler Picnic" experience that offers a tasty and tasteful alternative to takeaway grub--albeit at a cost that's quite a bit higher than you'd pay for a tinned burger with chips.
Here's the official picnic pitch from The Lanesborough's PR firm in New York:
"The Lanesborough will create beautiful bespoke hampers to suit all occasions; including romantic picnics á deux to fun-filled family gatherings. Savory menu highlights include summer inspired canapés, Cornish poached lobster with Beluga mayonnaise and balotine of truffled foie gras with asparagus jelly washed down with chilled Taittinger Rose Champagne.
"To follow, relish in a Cropwell bishop stilton trifle with pear marmalade and oatmeal sablée or a scrumptious summer berry Rumtop. Finish off the culinary extravaganza with The Lanesborough’s Artisan chocolates.
"All will be served with crystal glasses, plates, linen, napkins and a large picnic rug. To ensure an enjoyable and memorable experience, butlers will provide a personal consultation to modify each menu, ensuring that favorite dishes and drinks are served."
The Lanesborough's Butler Picnics take place in Hyde Park. The price is £250 per person, and reservations must be made 48 hours in advance. To book your Butler Picnic (and a room or suite where you cna enjoy a postprandial nap), call the hotel at +011 44 (0)20 7259 5599 or visit www.lanesborough.com.
Photo: The Lanesborough.