London is the most romantic city in the UK (according to research conducted by Hotels.com) – so if you’re looking for a special destination this 14 February, head to the capital armed with our handy guide to its best menus and events. Whether you’re going on a first date, thinking about popping the question or want to avoid Valentine’s clichés and hang out with friends, we’ve got something to suit you. And don’t forget to read our list of London’s top 10 most romantic restaurants (as voted for by you in the most recent Harden’s survey)…
Until 28 February
For love birds heading to Canary Wharf to skate hand-in-hand on the open air ice rink there are no end of nearby dining options offering special menus. Ibérica’s Valentine’s tapas menu, created exclusively by Nacho Manzano (great name), features sharing platters and wine pairings, while Plateau is offering a five course menu for lovers for £35pp, or £67 total for skating and a meal. And at One Canada Square, there’s a two course brunch for £25, add unlimited Prosecco, Bloody Marys or Bellinis for an extra £20. Ice rink tickets cost £14.50 pp. For more information email: email@example.com.
For a splash of luxury this 14 February…
For a complete Valentine’s Day package look no further than London’s Great Northern Hotel. True that once upon a time King’s Cross was not considered to be a spot for lovers (or at least, only those paid for by the hour), but this corner of N1 has cleaned up its act since then. Now there’s a multitude of great restaurants in and around Granary Square, including the Plum + Spilt Milk at the Great Northern. Indulge in their Valentine’s overnight stay, which includes: half a bottle of Billecart-Salmon Champagne, a box of Cocomaya chocolates, bespoke Valentine’s Day cocktail in the GNH bar, paired dinner for two in Plum + Spilt Milk and breakfast the following morning.
From 9 February
Don’t fancy going anywhere at all? We don’t blame you – it’s bloomin’ cold out there. Instead why not order a His & Hers Hamper at the Mount Street Deli? At £500 it’s no bargain but includes such delights as: 2 Kate Moss champagne coupes (modelled on her left breast, so they say); champagne; Glenallachie 34-year-old Speyside Single Malt; whisky rocks, decanter and tumblers; assorted truffles; raspberry meringues and flowers. The Breakfast in Bed hamper is much more reasonable at £50. To order call 020 7499 6843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org 24 hours in advance. Free delivery within W1.
For Valentine’s menus with a difference…
Chef Vivek Singh is taking his love of offal to a whole new level this Valentine’s Day with a very special menu that is certainly not for the faint of (ahem) heart. Experimental diners will be served: Pan seared ox heart with chilli, garlic and peanut; Tandoori spiced chicken heart tikka; evilled duck hearts; lambs’ heart skewer with pickled onion and heart of gem lettuce with chilli, caramel, cashew, apple and fennel. Pair it all with a ‘Burning with Passion’ cocktail – vodka, over proof rum, orange juice, passion fruit and strawberry purée.
It has often been described by our reporters as a “noisy goldfish bowl” so best to give Kensington Place a miss on Valentine’s Day itself and try it as an ‘aphrodisiac’ on 12 February instead. Straight from their own fish shop just next door comes a sample seafood menu with wine pairings that they say will put anyone in the mood for the big day. Try West Mersey rock oysters and shallot vinegar with Devaux Ultra D Champagne; soy marinated Cornish mackerel, pickled chilli, radish & coriander with Dandelion Riesling; and braised suckling pig, stem ginger and carrot with Montes Pinot Noir.
For the tech-savvy daters among us…
We all know that Valentine’s Day can be a dating disaster, but this year, you don’t have to suffer in silence if your date is going downhill, Operation Ditch-A-Date is on-hand to help at The Well in Clerkenwell. Just follow these five steps:
1. Follow @thewellpub on Twitter
2. If you want out, Direct Message them with the secret phrase “Kiss of Death” and your mobile phone number.
3. A member of The Well team will call your phone so you can pretend it’s an emergency.
4. While you’re making your excuses, The Well will have your bill ready, order a taxi to be on standby outside and even give you a complimentary drink.
5. Make your escape.
Bad Date? Saved by The Well.
Tired of ‘Tinder’? Heartbroken over ‘Happn’? Fear not, Beaver Lodge will be partnering with new social app, ‘Clocked’, to host a Goldrush Thursday party with Wild West style, liquor and line dancing. Clocked combines concepts from various other existing apps but also includes a ‘buddy up’ system that can be used to organise double dates with friends.
For Valentine’s Day cocktails why not try…
If you’re on a first date this Valentine’s Day why not kick off the evening with a spot of fun? Shake, smoke and steam your way through a 90-minute masterclass of matchmaking mixology with bartenders at City hangout The Alchemist. On arrival you’ll get a Kir Royale (Vaporetto Prosecco and cassis) to break the ice, then discover how to make the bar’s three most sought-after libations – Smokey Old Fashioned (bourbon and bitters with maple syrup and oak smoke), the classic French Martini (Green Mark Russian Vodka and Chambord with cranberry juice and pineapple foam) and a Passion Fruit Mojito (Havana Club rum with passion fruit, lime and mint). Email email@example.com to book.
13 & 14 February
Barts and hair stylists from Duck & Dry will host a pop-up drinking den on the King’s Road in Chelsea next weekend where ladies can enjoy not only a ‘boisson’ but a blow dry too. Cocktails include: The Basil Fawlty (Russian Standard vodka or Bombay Sapphire gin, fresh basil leaves, pineapple, and lemon) and the Jazz Singer, (Reyka vodka, passion fruit, vanilla and kaffir lime leaves).
For those who believe diamonds are a girl’s best friend…
For a special occasion in a lavish setting that would have made Cecil B DeMille proud, this pan-Asian venue in Camden has always had a following amongst reporters. On 14 February Gilgamesh will serve not only a special menu, but a new cocktail which comes with the chance of winning a diamond ring. Just order a ‘Diamonds are Forever’ drink and you’ll be entered into a draw to win a Tresor Paris solitaire ring worth £600.
In Marble Arch, a restaurant that’s received surprisingly few reviews from our reporters but has won plenty of plaudits from food writers, is offering a Valentine’s menu with a twist. Order chef Arnaud Stevens’s rhubarb dessert at Sixtyone to be in with the chance of winning one of three pairs of diamond Monica Vinader earrings worth £290.
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