I’ve been living in London for exactly a month now … and frankly, I’ve loved every minute! Last week I met up with Made in Chelsea’s Lucy Watson, to interview her about her new dating book, and one of the things I commented on over lunch, was that you could eat lunch and dinner in a different restaurant every day for a year, and still not be short of options in the capital!
So, where would I recommend for Date Venues this week?
New Tom’s, Westbourne Grove
This time last year, on my date with The Jet Setter I went to a pop-up event called Dine Mile High, held in the derelict Notting Hill Post Office. The concept was great, but the food was appalling!
Who knew, a year later I’d be returning to the spot, to eat in a new cafe, just beside the old Post Office. And this time the food was far better!
New Tom’s is a cafe style restaurant. A cross between an old English sweet shop, and an American diner, the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed. Currently the cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch, and so last week, in the sweltering summer heat, I headed into the refreshingly cool haven for a spot of brunch.
The relaxed setting was perfect for a first date. The music was upbeat, but not too loud that it intruded on conversation, and the staff were friendly and approachable. I settled in one of the appealing diner-style booths, and opted for Egg’s Benedict – one of my go-to menu options, and it was delicious. The muffin tasted so good, that I thought it was brioche!
I know that New Tom’s are planning to expand their catering to dinners too, so I’ll be sure to return to check out the evening menu, but if you fancy a low key brunch date, I would definitely recommend this as an affordable, fun, London spot.
Randall & Aubin, Soho
I’ve never been too worried about messy eating on a first date – in fact, I think it lends an ice-breaker element to the evening, if you order something particularly tricky to eat! So for me, lobster and champagne is a brilliant first date recipe. And those are both things which Randall & Aubin do very well!
Tucked just far away from Picadilly Circus to avoid the crowds of tourists, Randall & Aubin is genuinely one of the coolest restaurants I’ve been to in a long time. The atmosphere was electric – we went on a Wednesday evening, and by half seven the restaurant was jam-packed.
Decked out with disco balls, beautiful chandeliers, and marble counter-tops designed for sharing, Randall & Aubin is a stylish fish restaurant with a difference.
If you’re not a fish fan, there are a range of steak options, however the Champagne and Seafood deals for two are perfect for date night. We both opted for half lobster, roasted in garlic butter, and served with chips and a half bottle of champagne, £60 for two – which is really good value for lobster and bubbles. Dinner was amazing, and the atmosphere was so much fun. I’d definitely go back, for the food, the service, and the atmosphere.
If you are a lobster fan, I reckon there aren’t too many date ice-breakers more amusing than trying to use lobster nutcrackers in front of a stranger … I ended up spraying the poor waiter in lobster mid-meal!
Bunga Bunga, Battersea
Bunga Bunga is one of those elusive places I’d heard so much about, and yet never visited. I’d always assumed it was simply a nightclub, however when it was recommended to me as a pizzeria, I was keen to try it out. Last night, together with First Dates’ star Purdey, I hosted a Guardian Soulmates blind date at the fashionable spot. You’ll be able to read all about the date itself next month, but for now, I’ll tell you what me and Purdey thought!
I loved the atmosphere immediately. As soon as you get in through the door there’s a sense of fun and mischief. Waiters and waitresses wear aprons with naked statues on, and every hour the staff take part in a crazy dance around the restaurant! Later in the night, a cabaret act sang to the crowd, even dancing with, and serenading one lucky (and rather unsuspecting) diner! The menus (above) are styled like newspapers, and there’s a broadsheet full of fun cocktails. Four of the signature cocktails come in famous Italian heads – from Michaelangelo’s David to the footballer Balotelli!
But the cocktails and atmosphere aren’t the only things acting in Bunga Bunga’s favour. The food was incredible! Purdey and I shared both of our starters and our mains (so we could try as many things as possible), and loved everything we ate. Bunga Bunga is far more than a nightclub, and with incredible Italian food, and doors all around the restaurant open like windows and letting in the summer sunshine, we genuinely could have been eating in Italy.
The venue was A LOT of fun! Purdey and I took full advantage of the #IamtheEmperor Twitter selfie competition, and finished off the evening posing in Bunga Bunga caps.
Not the quietest of date spots, but certainly a date you would remember, and somewhere it’s impossible not to leave with a smile on your face!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx