In need of inspiration for a romantic rendezvous? Whether it’s a first encounter or a celebratory anniversary, check out our favourite date-night haunts this Valentine’s Day and elevate your courtship to new heights.
When it comes to striking the right mood, few can do it better than Sketch Gallery. With an omnipresent palette of pink and a dream-like ambience, this London institute has been the go-to romance destination for tastemakers and well-heeled scenesters since 2003. On the walls you’ll find playful – and often satirical – drawings by David Shrigley (the Gallery has recently added new works by the British artist), while the gold trimmings and the dome-like ceiling add a subtle palatial feel.
Instagram creds aside, Sketch Gallery sizzles and serves up ‘New French’ fare – a loose adaptation of the cuisine served in co-founder Pierre Gagnaire’s Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris. Think black rice and red pepper drowned in a sweet and soul-soothing lobster bisque; pink burrata with Thai grapefruit and yellow mango velouté; and Kent lamb fillet, sweetbreads and moreish polenta cubes.
With its candyfloss-styled appearance and menu that’s akin to a gastronomic riddle, Sketch is an OTT culinary playground that’s sure to impress anyone you take there.
Despite conventional belief that French food is the default cuisine for romance, we put forward the argument that tapas should be the rightful owner of that unofficial title. Why? Because with morsels and bijou-sized plates that can be divvied up between two, Spanish food offers the ideal opportunity to create some intimacy via a shared tasting experience. And, if you’re in search of the best in the capital, Barrafina – which gained critical acclaim under the leadership of former executive head chef Nieves Barragán Mohacho – is the place to be.
Once you’ve rolled into this coruscant food mecca, take a pew at the slick marble counter top where you’ll have a front row seat of the kitchen, and dish out your orders to the staff on the other side; the menu is saturated with flawless tapas options, but we suggest opting for the tortilla (comforting and oozing with egg yolk), the Iberian pork ribs (slide-off-the-bone tender) and the artichokes (crispy, flaky and pairs beautifully with the paprika mayo). For those with a sweet tooth, the milhojas (the Spanish version of a mille-feuille) is not be missed.
This elegant and understated eatery by legendary Petersham Nurseries chef Skye Gyngell is an oasis of white and pastel hues. Polished pillars are planted near the kitchen, light floods through the gargantuan windows, a vase of fresh foliage sits in the centre of the room and crisply-ironed tablecloths are draped over tables. To add to this seductive setting, the ceiling lights in the evening project a soft haze over diners, creating a dreamlike quality.
For the best spot in the house, ask to be sat near the windows where you’ll be given your own private booth and nook; a perfect place for one-on-one dining.
If you’re searching for somewhere that oozes and exhibits the swaggering confidence of London’s world-class dining scene, then Berners Tavern may be the place to visit. Located in the grand London Edition Hotel in Fitzrovia, Jason Atherton’s upmarket Modern British restaurant has matured into somewhat of a gastronomic institute in past years, and it’s easy to see why – whether it’s the blazing chandeliers, 18-foot ceiling or the collection of gilt-framed paintings and photographs that are hung like a stylish Tetris arrangement, every element inside is designed to impress guests who’ve travelled from far and wide.
Berners – with its flawless modern British menu – is also the perfect place for those who want reliable high-rolling food, but don’t want any of the uncertainties that often come with molecular gastronomy.
Bob Bob Ricard
Specialising in both oysters (the quintessential aphrodisiac) and champagne (a tipple renowned for its ability to get conversation flowing), Bob Bob Ricard boasts a simple, yet successful, formula for creating an intimate dining experience. The decadent Deco interior (electric blue booths, mirrored ceilings and gold bar) is also bound to win over any prospective suitor.
Bob Bob Ricard
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