…hyacinths. If you haven’t already. If you are unfamiliar with the behaviour of hyacinths indoors, what they like to do is shoot up within about 10 days and then get very leggy and dramatically keel over. Before they keel over, cut them and put them in a vase. You can then take the bulbs out of the soil and dry them out and store them in a cool dark place until next year, or plant them outside. I mean as IF you’d be that organised. Repeat until Spring.
… your Valentine’s day dinner, if you want to do that sort of thing. Wherever you choose to go, may I advise you choose somewhere busy and buzzy rather than “romantic” (i.e. quiet and slightly awkward) for your meal a deux – especially if you have been together for a while.
I also recommend that you try to sit next to each other rather than opposite – less pressure.
Here are my top places to go in London book NOW NOW NOW – seriously do not fuck about – otherwise you will not get in anywhere. Sorry they’re all in London but that’s where I live.
Feel free to email a link to this post to your spouse.
1 Jin Kichi in Hampstead. Tiny space, delicious food, buzzy, buzzy buzzy. Good luck getting a seat at the bar because I am already booked in there with Giles and there are probably only about 8 other seats. But have a go anyway. See you there!
2 Roka, Charlotte Street, Soho. Alas, you can’t book at the counter at this Japanese fusion legend BUT if you turn up early you’re in with a good shout of a spot. My advice is book a table for 2 then turn up sharpish and see if they can seat you at the counter instead. They will if they can. They can sell your table to a walk-in in 2 seconds flat – they don’t give a fuck. They’re insanely busy and insanely expensive.
3 Patron in Kentish Town. Probably one for North Londoners only but this little French hidey hole is absolute magic. The food will not blow your mind but it’s hearty and accomplished; the drinks, the atmosphere, the service and the y’know, just VIBE is 10/10. Hon-hee-hon. Seksee.
4 The Colony Room at The Beaumont Hotel. If you’re a man and you book this for your girl she might think you’re gay as it’s so very lovely and incredibly chic, so just tell her I told you to. When you book, and I hope that you do, say it is for Valentine’s Day and it is a special occasion – is there a particularly cosy table they could recommend? They really ought to be helpful. This place, although intimidatingly accurate, will not buttrape your wallet in the same way that, say, Roka will, if you are careful (i.e. don’t have the lobster and the Chateau Lafite).
… Celebrate by Pippa Middleton. Regular readers will know how much I adore this book – I know one of the many ghost-writers and love her dearly. I think this book is terribly maligned and misunderstood – the pictures are outstanding, the recipes are good, if quite complicated, and the whole thing is just cute and inspiring. The original hardcover was about £25 but you can get one on Amazon for about £4 if you shop around. I will never, ever part with my copy. Most evenings I lose myself in the “Spring” chapter as the rain hammers down outside.
If these are your top restaurants, have you already booked for Valentine’s Day? It would be a pity if you can’t get in because everywhere is full of spikers.
I love Celebrate too. Am planning Burns night based on it.
yes I secured my reservation far in advance of posting this… Oooo I was just reading the Burns night section last night. Haggis and clapshot for us on the 25th Jan…
The ‘Book …’ segment made me laugh out loud to myself like a mad person yet again.
Very Funny and good advice not going anywhere romantic- Barf. Just stay in is maybe better advice?! If anyone reading is the more sociable sort and lives in Glasgow here’s two good places: The Ox and Finch or The Gannet. Great food, nice places. Boom. Esther, You’ve got an LA correspondent, if you need one in Glasgow….👍😀
Eilidh McFlurry says
Fellow reader from the weege here. Excellent choices, especially The Gannet. I always insist on Number 16 or Turnip and Enjoy (Even though the superfluous addition of Turnip to their title and change from sage green to poo brown frontage made me mad for a week).
I bought celebrate on your recommendation way back when and have not regretted it! My hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary at the colony grill room and were not disappointed. We had to lug our two children with us for brunch and even they were not disappointed! Roka in canary wharf is also pretty epic if charlotte street is too busy….
*laments living in the shire once again
Ah, but in the shire you just buy some really good steak, a seriously expensive bottle of wine, bugger the vegetables, stay home and feel terribly smug because it’s still a squillion times cheaper than going out in London ….
Superiority born of necessity.
“If thou of fortune be bereft,
and in thy store there be but left
two loaves, sell one, and with the
dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.”
Hi Esther, I picked up Celebrate for £2 (!) in WHSmith on your recommendation and you are right. It’s good.
It’s great. To speak to certain people you would be quite convinced that Pippa Middleton had almost zero input.