It's Date Night (or day)!So, it's that time again. Date time. Whether it's a date with a mate or something more romantically geared, who doesn't have a certain penchant for such nights (or days)?! They present the adventurous among us with an excellent excuse to explore somewhere new and exciting while providing those who are more set in their ways with a perfect reason to hop on back to their favourite haunts.
If you're looking for a bit of a shove in the right direction, or somewhere to drag your most entertaining platonic pal to, check out a few suggestions from The Little Brown Book.
Flat Iron - Deliciously juicy £10 Steaks. Miniature meat cleavers, casual cool, salted chocolate mousse. Done.
Flesh &Buns - Japanese hirata buns filled with mouth watering meat, do-it-yourself s'mores and a seriously great weekend brunch.
Sticks 'n' Sushi - Overwhelmingly large selection of flavoursome sushi to mix and match to your heart's content. Fill your pockets because once you get going, there's no knowing when you'll end!
Imli Street - A unique take on Indian dining. Small plates with a more street foody vibe - no sickly sweet sauces here. Order the Onion Bhaji - it comes in bite-sized pieces as opposed to a whopping great canon ball.
Barnyard Ollie Dabbous' little house on the prairie and comfortingly American without the 'I've eaten all the ribs, have descended into meat sweats' and will require an immediate coronary angiogram' kindof feeling. My current favourite spot for a weekend lunch. (Don't let the no reservations policy put you off, this is not one to miss).
Kintan - The first Japanese grill-your-own to reach London (and perhaps even Europe). The 2 person set menu is £70 but will easily feed 3. You're in for a feast whatever you go for!
Berners Tavern - A jaw-droppingly spectacular masterpiece-filled restaurant to impress. Perfect for those with a soft spot for art and opulence (and fine dining). Just don't expect your date to ever want to leave (you or the restaurant)!
Duck and Waffle - Sky high dining, excellent service and the masterpiece that is the duck and waffle. To avoid serious food envy, choose the signature dish and drift into maple syrupy heaven.
Hakkasan - Unashamedly divine. Dim sum fit for the gods, the best duck salad on the planet, mouth watering presentation and moody lighting. Sunday brunch will not get better than this.
The Wolseley - A classy yet casual spot in what used to be a car showroom back in the chivalrous days. White table cloths, shining silverware, the best eggs benedict in town and an excellent (and enormous) wiener schnitzel.
The Shop - Jam jars, milk bottles, unpretentiously cool and comfortable to put everyone at ease. Artwork for sale around the walls and the furniture too if you fancy it! Also serving seriously scrummy fish tacos.
Discount Suit Company - An underground speakeasy in an old tailors. Push back the velvet curtain to find cocktails and a cosy vibe that you'll be craving as the traditional English weather returns. Follow your ears, this East London gem is easy to miss.
Graphic - The largest selection of gin in London, this is a G&T lovers paradise. Settle at the bar, make friends with the bar man and commission some unique combinations tailored to your taste. Oh and cocktails in paint pots to fit the creative theme.
Bourne & Hollingsworth - Your Gran's electro-swinging lounge. Cocktails in tea cups, charmingly kitsch wallpaper and a Fitzrovia favourite.
Mr Fogg's - Taxidermy, hot air balloons, penny farthings and live theatrics (if you're lucky). Sign in the guest book, take a seat in this Jules Verne inspired cocktail bar and join Philleas Fogg on his adventure around the world in eighty days!
Cecil's - A 1930's Shanghai speakeasy, who, apart from concocting delicious cocktails, have ingeniously teamed up with a local Chinese takeaway and will bring you all the spring rolls and prawn crackers you could ever wish for to munch as you sip. On the first Thursday of the month, meet Jonny Woo, the ever so fabulous drag queen who will lead you through a cabaret night of flirtatious fun.
TO CHARMThe Blind Pig - Here is the secret, mahogany-coated cocktail masterville above Jason Atherton's Social Eating House and hidden behind a door marked only with a blindfolded shiny pigs head. Wow your date with your insider knowledge as this bar oozes cool out of every nook and cranny.
BYOC (Bring Your Own Cocktail) - Another secret location, this time underneath a juice bar. Bring a bottle of the tipple of your choice and let the man behind the trolley of delights whip you up all manner of creative cocktails. Reservations only, this place is sure to impress!
Opium - Turns out I'm a fan of the hidden locations. Tucked behind a sign-less black door in China Town, marked only by the doorman, sits the Dim Sum cocktail parlour of the hour. A rather devilish feeling envelopes you as you disappear inside as the likelihood of being spotted here by anybody you know is slim. Not that this is a reason to go, but it certainly adds an element of excitement to the night. Just don't tell ALL your friends!
Sketch - With 5 different rooms to choose from, you'll be spoilt for choice at this creative explosion. Unlike anywhere else in London, Sketch will leave you feeling exclusive, excited, bemused and entertained all at once. Delicious cocktails, insane decor and some seriously crazy toilets.
Cellar Door - Cabaret and cocktails in a matchbox. Welcome to the 1920s/30s/40s ish and an underground speakeasy at the confusing location of Zero Aldwich. Let the jazzy tunes and huskily sexy singers drag you out of the London bubble to transport you back in time. Fancy some snuff? It's available at the bar.
Purl - Another basement speakeasy filled with an eclectic mix of leather chairs, antlers, globes and theatrical cocktails. Settle in for the night and cosy up to Mr Right..(or wrong..listen to the live jazz musicians and distract yourself with the surroundings if you really have nothing to say to your date)!
So, date night sorted! If you'd like some more tailored options, just drop me a note/ tweet/ pigeon/ message in a bottle with your requirements for the evening and I'll get my thinking cap on!