The Montague on the Gardens, 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury.

We British folk don’t need hot, heavy sun to light a barbecue. Should the temperature rise into those astronomical twenties, (ooh it aint half hot!), then that’s simply an added bonus. Give us an hour of sun on a Saturday in December and heaps of us will contemplate disturbing ‘old reliable’ from hibernating in the shed, wheeling her out and scorching food beyond recognition. However should you wish to capitalise on the ‘heat waves” that we experience during ‘barbecue season”, one of the finer establishments you may visit would be The Montague on the Gardens.

A luxury 4* boutique hotel located in Bloomsbury, the Montague on the Gardens has fabulous, first class presentation. Prim and proper, the staff, décor and finished feel to the place are very impressive. It’s almost as if I’ve got the wrong hotel. The word ‘barbecue’ conjures up images of smoke, ketchup, burnt food, charcoal stains and novelty aprons, but there are more refined ways to enjoy the experience of flame grilled outdoor dining.

The terrace and wood deck bask in the sun’s rays and are brilliantly lit up when I arrive with Bush W, who is rather moved by the beauty of the trees in the surrounding Bedford estate. With glasses of Pimms in hand, we take in the serene surroundings and relax into the ambience that the deck offers. A classy jazz trio play in the terrace, which adds to the rather cool ambience that you find yourself enjoying. It’s sophisticated, elegant and rather homely.

Great, so the venue is spectacular, now on to the important stuff, bring on the nosh. Surely there’s got to be something that can be done better here, although the hotel is part of the Red Carnation hotel collection, whose motto is ‘No request is too large, no detail is too small’.

We begin our canapé consuming with a few seafood snacks. A juicy, fleshy black pepper prawn and ice gem lettuce was a good start, followed by a Cornish crab and avocado that provided me with my only gripe – the accompanying cocktail fork proved to be a difficult utensil for the dish. A small portion of lobster was enjoyable, as lobster always is, but the real marine treat was the salmon and red onion kebabs.

Meaty mouthfuls were a massive hit with myself and Bush W, who happily gorged himself on the ever-popular mini-burgers and washed it down with plenty of fine beer provided by Vedett, who gave each guest a bottle of beer with their own photo on the back (nifty!). Tiny baskets of perfectly pink steak with crisp chips were gobbled up willingly and rapidly. In fact, the food of such a high quality, we both decided to grab a veggie burger too, and actually enjoyed it.

So, could dessert round off a fantastic experience? The answer should be rather obvious by now. Tiny ice cream cones made their way towards us, flanked by panna cotta with summer berry compote and strawberries and cream macaroons. No time to think about the calories, attack attack attack! Rich, sweet and the perfect combination of smooth and crunch textures, my particular favourite being the ice cream.

The Terrace and Wood Deck will be serving the barbecue dishes between 12:30pm – 10:30pm until September 12th 2010. Prices depend on the menu, but with the Table d’Hote menu the price is £19.50 for two courses or £24.50 for three. The afternoon was a tremendous success. Bush W and I walked away slightly heavier but most definitely happier. A wonderful setting, wonderful food, the next time you fancy good food and a good outside setting, leave the shed door locked and take a trip to The Montague on the Gardens, 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury.