If you eat three things... date night edition

Friday, 20 December 2019

It's that time of the year folks. Work is slowing down, invites to 'catch up before Christmas' are piling in and we're all feeling cute and festive as hell, seeking to drink overpriced mulled wine and hot chocolates with our loved ones. Speaking of cute, one of the highlights of living in London has been trying out numerous restaurants and cafes with Jack on date nights, whether we're feeling spenny or tighter on the purse strings. 

We're both completely obsessed with food so this tends to be where we spend the most on each other. It's so exciting to discover a place that is so memorable, firstly for how delicious the food is, but also because of the unique atmosphere that you won't find anywhere else. In winter, we all crave cute, cosy spots to hide from the cold and marvel at how attractive our half's are in low-light over delicious food, right?

I found it really hard to whittle down my list to just three options, so a few extra honourable mentions for those looking for lots of date night suggestions, especially in London: Breddos Tacos (very recent find, very very cute), Bao and Bar Douro are all brilliant (I've spoken about the last two in a previous edition here).

I hope you enjoy this date-night edition of my top three restaurant picks, and of course, I'm incredibly open to hearing your suggestions for my own list!

Pophams Bakery, London Fields

Pophams Bakery tends to be known for its pastries and coffee - at the Angel branch you'll always find queues out the door! However, this year the cafe launched pasta nights, available in the evenings at their London Fields branch. The restaurant is the perfect setting for a casual but cosy meal, with lots of pretty low lighting and candles. 
A nice touch is that the kitchen sits alongside the tables, so you can see all the action from the chefs as they go. The food and wine itself is incredible, with a small but mouthwatering menu of starters, shared pasta dishes and desserts. The menu changes every few month with lots of inventive filled pasta dishes. 

My favourites include the Taleggio Cappelletti and the Oxtail Ravioli. It would be a mistake not to start with the Pophams sourdough bread and balsamic butter - a huge chunk of soft, warm and nutty bread with the most luxurious butter, tangy with the taste of balsamic onion. Also, Pophams recently introduced the most beautiful (and arguably quite sexy) dessert to their menu and I would highly recommend trying it to round off the meal; the Sticky Toffee Croissant Pudding with Creme Fraiche.  

Roka Aldwych

When it comes to date-night places, Roka, a fine-dining Japanese restaurant is in another league of its own when it comes to its interiors. Jack and I came here to celebrate his birthday and our anniversary in November with brunch and it had a plush but welcoming feel to it. The restaurant looks impressively luxurious when you first walk in, decked out with wall-to-wall wood furnishings and caramel-toned booths. 

Price-wise, Roka sits firmly as a place for special occasions on the budget scale, but the quality of the food, service and atmosphere make up for this. It's a place to feel fabulous and we loved every second of it.

We had the Han Setto brunch which is available at the Aldwych and Canary Wharf branches, which includes 10 sharing dishes, two huge mains and a large sharing dessert at the end. Plates came out continuously but at a nice rhythm, so we never felt too full. Everything was delicious, beautifully prepared and presented and felt considered down to the sashimi and the tempura prawns. 

The balance of richness and lightness in each dish meant that we left feeling content rather than too full to function. The staff were incredibly polite throughout and really, the atmosphere is one of the winners with this restaurant. It felt like we were at a lively party in the middle of the day (they do bottomless brunch so there were quite a few tiddly people in the restaurant lol).   

The Gurnard's Head, Zennor, Cornwall

Don't worry friends not every place in this list is in London, I'm not that person yet! Back in October during our stay in Cornwall, we headed to the Gurnard's Head in Zennor, just past St. Ives. I'd read a few good things about it so we drove over one evening to try it out. It is impossible to miss, even in the evening - as you drive down an assuming road after lots of twisting turns, you're faced with a bright yellow cottage.

Inside, the place feels traditional, inviting and warm, with lots of candles dotted around the pub. The dining area is romantic, perfect for a cute date after a day in St. Ives or a walk.   

And wow, the food. The ever-changing menu is inventive, interesting but most importantly, delicious. We had the set menu and each course was beautifully cooked, in particular the main of pork belly, fennel kimchi, BBQ sauce, peanut & sesame seeds. It was so unexpected and far from the traditional pub fare. Additionally, the wine menu is renowned for offering great value with a huge range of choice, so I couldn't refuse a glass of white to enjoy with the meal as the perfect complement to the meal. I'd highly recommend!

So that was my top three recommendations for the cutest date night to rival any Christmas romcom! Thanks for reading.

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