Italian StallionsItalian lovers are reputed the world over, so why not rely on The Boot for a bit of amore come Valentine’s Day?
Carluccio’s: Available February 13-17, the sensibly priced chainlet is offering a £25-per-person four-course feast featuring suitably romantically hued beetroot tortellini with a light butter sauce, a selection of mains and finally a trio of Italian desserts to share, including a white chocolate panna cotta, a raspberry tart and profiteroles in a white chocolate sauce.
Bunga Bunga: The kitsch Battersea diner is going über-kitsch with a Bella Notte theme that conjures up a candlelit Italian pizzeria straight out of one of Disney’s most iconic films, Lady and the Tramp. With that sort of a backdrop, how can you not end up slurping the ends of the same strand of spaghetti?
Gelupo: We can’t think of a lovelier kiss than those on offer from this Soho gelateria. Their signature ‘kisses’ created from ice cream or sorbet are, for the first-time, available for nationwide delivery. The box contains either a dozen gelato kisses for £12 or six heart-shaped bonbons for £18 in flavours of ricotta sour cherry in dark chocolate and strawberry sorbet in white chocolate. Order at www.gelupo.com
French KissesNobody does romance like the French so here are some surefire spots for seduction, Gallic-style.
Morgan M: Now that it’s in a more central spot, Morgan Meunier’s Smithfield spot is an even better bet. Two five-course set menus - one vegetarian - are available February 11-18 at £75 a head. Dishes include a carpaccio of fresh salmon and diver-caught scallops; chicory tarte tatin and dark-chocolate fondant guaranteed to make you melt.
Clos Maggiore: It’s not exactly a cut-price option but it doesn’t get much more romantic than this blossom-filled Covent Garden conservatory. A five-course tasting menu with a glass of champagne on arrival will set you back £125/head, add in paired wines and it will be £164/head.
Poilâne: This renowned Parisian bakery will be bringing back its famous heart-shaped butter cookies. The ideal gift for a loved one with a sweet tooth, the heart shaped biscuits are packaged in an elegant Poilâne box and are priced at £2.65 per 100g.
L’Etranger: South Ken’s finest will not only have three five-course tasting menus on offer starting from £69 a head and including the likes of roasted Hokkaido scallops with Parmesan curd and truffle foam; and pan-fried halibut with wild mushrooms, crispy potato and lime veal jus, but each menu will also showcase a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne, from the 2002 vintage to rosé or Grand Siecle, all served from a magnum - showy? Per’aps, but what do you expect, zey are French.
Offbeat OptionsWe don't all want to be snogging over the dinner table come Valentine's Day, so whether you're single or just cynical, here are some other options
The Avalon: Don’t worry if you’re single, you might not be come Valentine’s Day if you head to this Clapham gastropub on February 13. They’re hosting a singles’ wine-tasting night and for £10 a head you can glug your way through a range of tipples from whites and reds to fizzes and sweet stickies. You rank your favourites and, if your top choices match those of one of your fellow drinkers, you’ll win a blind date at The Avalon the very next night.
The Lyttelton: Don’t fancy sitting cheek by jowl with the world and his wife on Valentine’s Day? Why not learn from the best how to make the magic happen at home instead? Exec chef Brendan Fyldes is hosting a Valentine's Day Cookery Class on February 12 - either choose to do it à deux, or go alone and surprise your loved one on Valentine’s Day. The three-hour hands-on cookery class starts at 8.30 AM and will teach you a four-course menu. The steep £220 price tag however does include champagne, canapés, lunch with wines and a gift bag containing a Kempinski cookery book, an apron adorned with The Lyttelton logo, homemade chutneys and biscuits, and a solid plan for a home-cooked Valentine’s Day dinner. Call 020-7493-0111 to book one of the eight places available.
Spuntino: You have to queue and you sit crammed around a bar, surrounded by people hoping you’ll move soon so they can grab your seat, which means the likelihood of finding couples smooching here is pretty slim. If there’s one spot that will suit singles and sceptics this Valentine’s Day, it’s probably this. No guarantee that you won’t fall in love with the truffled egg though.