Branching out slightly from our usual theme of seasonal food and as we’re London-based, we’d like to share with you some of our favourite places to eat here, more specifically Season’s Eatings top 5 venues for a first date in London.
Debrett’s advises that for first dates, drinks are the best option, and if things go well then you can opt for some dinner as well. We’ve therefore carefully selected the follow venues for just that – somewhere to enjoy a good drink, in a relaxed environment with the option of food, the exception being Inamo, but we’ll come to that later.
Central&Co, conveniently located 2 minutes walk from Oxford Circus (opposite Liberty’s of London) is a great place to grab a mid-afternoon or after work cocktail. As with all dates, we’d recommend booking a table to show you’re date you’re organised and have given the venue choice some thought. Central&Co has an intriguing drinks choice, starting with cocktails and followed up by a masterful medley of Martinis. Once you’ve perused the menu and started the usual dating pleasantries, if you do lose your way with conversation just take a look around the walls of quirky artwork for inspiration of your next topic.
The waiters may be keen to get you some food, but don’t be afraid to tell them that “drinks are fine for now and we’ll give you a shout when we’re ready to order”, giving you flexibility depending on how the date is going.
A table at Central&Co can be booked online at their website: http://centralandco.com, where you’ll also find the full menu options.
2. Riding House Cafe
Riding House Cafe is a relaxed venue offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch as well as wide variety of cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks, wine or beer. You can sit at the buzzing bar, at the large communal dining table or at low tables in the lounge. In short it caters for whatever experience you want to make of it. Although the food is not the finest around, it’s certainly up to par should you fancy a bite; however the creative cocktails are bound to impress your date.
For bookings at Riding House Cafe, visit: http://www.ridinghousecafe.co.uk.
3. Smiths of Smithfield
Smiths of Smithfield is famous for its British beef and has stood the test of time, as has some of its most well-known dishes. Smiths has four tiers of dining: a ground floor bar and cafe, first floor cocktail and champagne bar, a bistro-esque dining room offering great value and a top floor, luxurious restaurant with pressed linen tablecloths. The options make for plenty of choice for your date, and if you decide to go for a meal and want to continue, you can choose your cocktails downstairs. The second floor dining room is probably the best option for a first date, as this wallet-friendly restaurant is smart, modern and impressively good value.
Booking is pretty much mandatory given its popularity and City location near to Farringdon station .
Smiths of Smithfield is online at: http://www.smithsofsmithfield.co.uk.
4. Vinoteca (Soho)
The Soho branch of Vinoteca is the third (of 5 – the Kings Cross branch will be open soon) of this vintage-themed venue to have opened across the capital, and offers a menu of over 300 wines and pan-European food. If you’re taking a wine-lover on a first date, with the sheer variety of grape and region, this is bound to impress. We like the option of cheese and meat plates meaning you can order light nibbles with your date without having to even cross the awkward question about whether to have a full-blown dinner.
More information and booking is available on their website, here: http://www.vinoteca.co.uk/soho/.
5. Inamo (Soho)
Unlike the other venues in this top-five, we recommend Inamo if you’re taking the plunge to arrange dinner as your first date. This Asian-fusion restaurant offers their food in a unique, fun and interactive setting. The menu is projected down on to each table, from which your order directly. There are also other digital activities to keep you occupied with your date whilst you wait for your food – playing battleships for example. Most of the dishes at Inamo are designed to be shared and each arrives when ready, which is perfect for a first date as it means you get to know the other person’s food preferences.
Inamo is located on Wardour Street and more information is available on their website: http://www.inamo-restaurant.com.
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