Food & Drink: Bites: Al Fresco Dining

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The Independent Culture
OUR WEATHER is as unpredictable as ever, but make the most of the late summer sunshine and eat outside this weekend.

fiftytwodegreesnorth, Arcadian Hurst Street, Birmingham (0121-622 5250). Daily lunch and dinner. A lounge bar, cigar bar, a glass tower and two terraces for outdoor dining (both with gas heaters). You can just snack and drink, but if you're making a meal of it, the modern European dishes make extensive use of the wood-fired oven, and reach out globally: how about a skewer of swordfish, monkfish and shark marinated in coconut and lime leaves with pan-fried sesame rice at pounds 35 for two? Lunch pounds 15, dinner around pounds 25.

Canyon, near Richmond Bridge, Richmond, Surrey (0181-948 2944). Lunch and dinner daily; brunch Sat, Sun. Modern South-western US dishes from the Montana team. The unusual food - using ingredients such as blue corn meal, salsas and weird chillies - is wonderful, but the spaghetti Western landscaping of the garden and the riverside location really make it. There are gas heaters and giant parasols on standby. Brunch (11-4pm Sat, Sun) pounds 20, dinner pounds 40.

The George Hotel, Quay Street, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight (01983 760331). Lunch and dinner daily. The outstanding place to eat on the Isle of Wight. The terrace has views across the Solent, and satisfying dishes served up from the brasserie menu - risotto of crab and smoked haddock, followed by roast lobster salad with a watercress mayonnaise, perhaps. Lunch and dinner pounds 26.

The Good Cook, The Tabernacle, Powis Square, W11 (0171-565 7808). Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. This surprisingly good cafe and restaurant in London's smartest community centre has a large patio where you can savour breakfast fry-ups (pounds 4), brunch (Sun 11am-4pm), lunch or dinner. In the evenings the menu really comes into its own: own-made pasta, tender lamb shank, or fish, all for a very fair price: lunch pounds 12, dinner pounds 22.

riverstation, The Grove, Bristol BS1 4RB (0117 914 4434). Lunch and dinner daily. The modernity of this dockside deli and restaurant still startles, as does the food - maybe try roast grouse with rosti, red chard and redcurrants. The first floor terrace has half a dozen tables and a pull-over canopy. Lunch around pounds 15, dinner pounds 25.

Guy Dimond