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Our Guide To… Valentine’s Hangouts

Monday 9th February 2015

Valentine’s Day – love it or hate it, it seems like we can’t escape it. So we might as well embrace it. So you’re loved up?  Get out of bed, that boxset on Netflix can wait another day . You’re single? Same applies, Netflix will still be there tomorrow.  From Red Room inspired nights to infinity brunches, private barmen and fry–ups to chocolate masterclasses and juice to boost your sex drive, here are some of the best Valentine’s events:

If You’re After Morning Glory…

Jam Tree, Clapham

If food is the way to the heart, then you can’t go wrong with The Jam Tree’s Blissful Brunch.  Valentine’s themed cocktails? Check. Champagne to impress? Done. Oysters, for those who need a helping hand? Sure. Chocolate Nemesis for pudding? Sure thing.  Sign us up. 14th February www.thejamtree.com

Aqua Kyoto

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a lothario/lotharia(?!) and are trying to cram several trysts into this V-Day, why not take your first victim (sorry, date) to Infinity Brunch at Aqua Kyoto. With a Bloody Mary on arrival and unlimited Veuve Clicquot Champagne, it’s lucky there’s a generous sushi and sashimi platter, a sumibiyaki grill and range of Japanese treats to ensure you don’t get so drunk you forget your next tête-à-tête. 14th February www.aquakyoto.co.uk  

AquaKyoto

If You Want to Grab Some Afternoon Delight…

Sketch

A lovely alternative to the classic dinner date, Sketch is putting on a homemade afternoon tea to rival that of Alice in Wonderland. To start, delve into finger sandwiches filled with everything from smoked salmon and Jacob’s cream, cucumber and ricotta, Croque Monsieur and egg mayonnaise to quail egg and caviar. Next up there’s scones with clotted cream and fig and strawberry jam followed by a selection of sketch pastries, macaroons and blueberry éclairs. And MORE. There’s a good selection of tea or champagne if you want to make it a more adult affair. 14th February www.sketch.london

The Ampersand

This South Kensington’s hotel are putting on a sumptuous afternoon tea of London smoked salmon, Coronation chicken, Gloucester old spot ham and a massive cheese board with fruity chutney. And that’s just to start. Sweeten up your date with warm plain and white chocolate scones with Devonshire cream and homemade jam warm, followed by pasties, heart-shaped macaroons, chocolate caramel and rose mousse and chocolate-coated raspberry marshmallows. Phew. Let’s hope you don’t get (love)sick. 7th-15thFebruary www.ampersandhotel.com

London Hilton Park Lane

So you don’t have that ‘special’ someone to spend Valentine’s Day with? So you won’t get roses sent to the office and your doormat won’t be piled high with cards. Who cares, because you can spend your day eating cake at London Hilton Park Lane and honestly that can be better than a relationship sometimes.  With scones served with praline chocolate and strawberry jam, strawberry jelly macaroons and raspberry sable ‘I love you’ cakes we’re just going to eat our feelings. 2nd -15th February www.hilton.com

Valentine'stea

If You’re After the Classic Dinner Date… 

Trader Vic’s

If you want to bring a bit of Hawaiian heat to your date this Valentine’s day, get down to Trader Vic’s for a romantic four-course meal at Mayfair’s favourite hangout. Inspired by the legend of the Ohia tree and the Lehua blossom (something about the Goddess of Volcanoes meeting a handsome warrior and he becoming the tree to her blossom), the menu boasts Tiki treats including Oysters Rockerfeller, veal medallions with a morel, cognac and cream sauce and a ‘surprise’ dessert. They’ve also created a special ‘Menehune Love Potion’ cocktail of Asian love tea and pink champagne complete with a sprinkling of orchid petals (so you don’t even have to buy flowers…) 14th February www.tradervicslondon.com

Aqua Nueva

Inject some Spanish sizzle into your love life this February with a four course feast of Catalan cuisine at Aqua Nueva. Head Chef Alberto Hernandez will be cooking up a storm with delicacies including scallops with confit saffron puff pastry and potato foam and a twenty-eight day matured rib-eye with alioli potatoes. Share a traditional St. Valentine’s cake for dessert and wash it all down with a glass of Veuve. 14th February www.aquanueva.co.uk

Pont St, Belgraves Hotel

For an old-fashioned romantic dinner date, Belgraves’ Pont St. restaurant has the ultimate Valentine’s menu. Chef Sophie Michel will be tickling your tastebuds with Bloody Mary oysters, grilled lobster or duck breast, rosewater macaroons and dark chocolate and Absinthe truffles, washed down with Champagne, of course. A failsafe option sure to please even the most discerning of dates.  14th February www.pontst.com

1 Lombard Street

All of your favourite things are on the menu at 1 Lombard St. for Valentine’s Day this year. The 1776 Restaurant will be serving up beetroot, crab and avruga caviar, lobster thermidor black truffle stuffed quail, foie gras, beef wellington and a white chocolate and orange dome, while their Brassiere will be offering the same set menu, bar the lobster thermidor. Let’s hope they’re all of your date’s favourite things, too… www.1lombardstreet.com

champagne-glasses

If You’re Pulling Out All the Stops… 

‘Love and Be Loved’ at Metropolitan London

Thinking of pulling out all the stops this year? Then this stay at the Metropolitan Hotel has your name on it. With champagne and flowers ready in your room, views over the park and breakfast in bed in the morning, it’s sure to be a night to remember. And when you manage to drag yourself from your love nest you’ll each be rewarded with a 60 minute COMO Shambhala signature massage or Dr Hauschka facial. And the fun continues beyond that still, because the lady half of you (or man, if you’re into that) will be booked in for a complimentary fitting at Myla Lingerie (available in Harrods or Selfridges) with 30% off a beautiful gift set. So you’ll probably be booking yourselves in for another night ASAP… www.comohotels.com

Subterranean Spa at The Bulgari Hotel & Residences

If you’re after a bit of R&R&R (Rest, Relaxation & Romance) this V-Day, The Bulgari’s underground spa is a sure fire winner. The walls are lined in sandblasted Vincenza stone and gleaming green onyz, with glittering gold echoing the Bulgari family’s silversmith past and haute jeweller present (and hopefully the engagement ring that’s about to appear…). If that’s not enough, hire the otherworldly Onyx Spa Suite which boasts two treatment beds, a palatial private bathroom, steam shower and private relaxation room complete with an oversized hydromassage tub. We’re getting all hot under the collar just thinking about it… www.bulgarihotels.com

Private Dining in the M DEN

If you’re Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags (or, at least, hoping to be Mr. and Mrs. by the end of the night), at £6000 you can book yourself into M for an evening fit for a king and queen. Listen up ladies and gents, if you wanna seal the deal here’s how. M is putting on an extremely special Valentine’s dinner; Krug Clos De Mesnil 2000 Vintage on arrival with kill-kenny oysters, followed by Tajima-Gyu Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture Grade 10+/A5 sashimi accompanied by Ch. Petrus Vintage 2005, a 600g chateaubriand of the same very highest quality, A5 wet-aged Kobe grilled over wood and sprinkled with truffle shavings. Phew. This secret dining den will be your very own private room complete with a personal barmaid and waiter on hand to cater to anything your heart desires (so if you still don’t manage to clinch it, it’s probably your own fault). M is for Mwah! (and the Millions of pounds you need for this…). www.mrestaurants.co.uk 

If You Want to Get Your 50 Shades of Grey On…

Voltaire

Inspired by that chapter in 50 Shades of Grey, Voltaire are offering an exclusive Red Room VIP Package in their underground vaults. Your vault will be strewn with rose petals, lit with candles and will come with a waiter to serve you cocktails from the Red Room Collection and Pommery Pop and aphrodisiac platter with strawberries dipped in chocolate. All you have to do is find your version of Christian Grey. 14th February www.voltairebar.com

Electric Cinema

Electric Cinema presents a very special screening of Fifty Shades of Grey, which has been given an ‘R’ rating for ‘strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behaviour and graphic nudity’. Brace yourselves everyone. But the naughty has been given a little bit of nice as they’ll be serving up a Valentine’s menu throughout, with cocktails, lobster rolls, figs with Parma ham and goat’s cheese, asparagus, avocado skewers. Enjoyed from the comfort of the Electric Cinema’s stylish oxblood leather armchairs and flat ‘beds’, it is the ultimate V-Day cinema experience. 14th February www.electriccinema.co.uk 

 50ShadesofGrey

If You’re Eating Your Feelings…

PRESS

If you’re part of the clean-eating brigade then head to PRESS at Selfridges for libido boosting juice – The SX Tonic – it’s got to taste better than oysters. Pick up some of their Amazeballs at the same time too, it’s their take on truffles with flavours such as strawberries and coconut cream, salted caramel, ginger and baobab. It’s not always about chocolate you know. www.press-london.com

Nobu

Say it with chocolate this year with a limited edition box of chocolate hearts from Nobu. The heart-shaped chocolate shells, created by Executive Head Pastry Chef Regis Cursan are made from organic Fair-trade chocolate with 72% cocoa solids and are sprayed red with edible food colouring. The hearts are then mounted onto a solid chocolate stand sprayed with gold. Only 120 will be available; talk about exclusive. Available from 9th February www.noburestaurants.com

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

When you’re in love your brain releases a hormone called phenylethylamine. Phenylethylamine is also found in chocolate. Put simply, chocolate is an aphrodisiac. You might want to take advantage of this newfound wisdom this V-Day by booking you and your (hopefully phenylethylamine-filled date) into a chocolate-y masterclass at The Dorchester. Top chef Alain Ducasse is bringing La Manufacture de Chocolat to London with exclusive workshops from artisan chocolate maker Nicolas Berger. Guests will learn to melt and mould chocolate into Michelin-starred desserts including a tarte fine au chocolate and the restaurant’s signature soufflé while picking up tips from Nicolas himself. Let us know whether the aphrodisiac thing is true… 7th February and 7th March www.alainducasse-dorchester.com

Peyton and Byrne

Peyton and Byrne have created a delectable selection of sweet treats designed to do the job so you don’t have to. Can’t tell them how you feel? Get it written on a biscuit. Or, if you’re after a more Marie-Antoinette moment, let them eat La Di Da Cake; an indulgent dark chocolate sponge with creamy milk chocolate mousse layered with strawberry and rose flavoured jelly. Get miniature ones for your one true love, or order the XXL and get all your best mates round to share it. Available from Peyton and Byrne bakeries and cafés from the beginning of February www.peytonandbyrne.co.uk

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If You’re Over Valentine’s Day…

Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green

If the idea of hearts, romance and all round soppy love leaves you running for the hills faster than you can say Be My Valentine then Paradise have just the ticket and it’s not even on Valentine’s day. Rather on 13th Friday Idris Elba’s 7 Wallace with Soul Sessions headlines Paradise for a soiree, Guest DJ’s includes West London’s party boys Weaver Brothers and Harry Love. Dance the night away and then spend Valentine’s Day in bed with a true love – ice cream. 13th February www.theparadise.co.uk

Kensington Hotel

Just because you aren’t in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit and wait for the storm to pass. Instead you’re going to grab your best friend and head to Kensington Hotel and you’re going to get a private in-room barman to make you cocktails. You’re going to eat an anti-valentine’s dinner at Town House restaurant, afterwards you’ll dance the night away in Ramusake, maybe find someone, maybe you’ll just spend the night throwing the best shapes before you sleep it off at Kensignton Hotel and then eat a full English in the morning. That’s what you’re going to do. 14th February www.doylecollection.com

Nobody’s Business at Basement

If all the flowers, chocolates, teddy bears and candy hearts send shivers down your spine, then get your miserable self down to Basement for the antichrist of the-day-that-shall-not-be-named. They’re putting on an urban yet glam club night with music curated by Seb Chew of Young Turks and Horse Meat Disco fame (and underground party organiser extraordinaire) pumping out of one of the best sound/lighting systems in London. Your love life? It’s Nobody’s Business…  14th February, online guestlist at www.events.basementldn.com 

Valentine’s Day Massacre Disco at Quo Vadis 

If memories of your school prom leaves you badly cringing and want a chance to rewrite your past or give it one last go at becoming Prom King or Queen then head to Quo Vadis for their Valentine’s Day Massacre Disco. The club is being transformed into an 80s/90s American school sports hall on prom night, with a multi -coloured dance floor, punch, dry ice, a kissing photo booth in The Petting Room and beer pong in The Pool Room and of course the naming of the King and Queen. 14th February www.quovadissoho.co.uk

Valentines

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