Every week on 30 Dates, I share some of the new places and experiences I’ve discovered for a date in London. Here are this week’s date ideas.
Tipsy Tea at Mr Fogg’s
I’ve always loved Mr Fogg’s as a date venue – I first went there on one of my original 30 Dates and then again for a group date with the app Grouper. However I’ve only ever visited Fogg’s in the evening – and during the day it’s a very different experience. This time I headed to Fogg’s on a Saturday afternoon to check out their Tipsy Afternoon Tea, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Rule one … there is no tea. Well there is, but it’s cold, and contains far more gin and champagne than your normal pot. With a whole list of different pots to choose from, and one pot each, there’s guaranteed to be a cocktail for everyone. I opted for a raspberry-based champagne pot, and wasn’t disappointed. The food is pretty standard afternoon tea fare – sandwiches, macarons, cakes and scones – but it’s the atmosphere and the drinks you have to go for. We were serenaded by a Mad Hatter-like pianist, and the entire venue – with its crazy colonial outfits and decor- is a true escape from normal London life.
Ask for Janice
A stone’s throw from Barbican station, this edgy bar feels like it’s been transplanted straight out of Shoreditch. The food is tapas style sharing plates, with a British vibe – pork scratchings, cheese toasties and chicken kievs. Go for a low-key cocktail date and grab a couple of dishes as snacks. The tables are all quite big, and it’s a wide open space, so I wouldn’t choose this for a first date, as it lacks a bit of intimacy.
Inspired by Time Out’s recent hunt for London’s best burger, I decided to check out the winner – the Bavarian at Hache. The London chain has venues across the capital, but I opted for the one just minutes from Camden station. The venue is perfect for a first date – relaxed and informal, so you don’t look like you’re trying too hard, but with low lighting and nicely set out tables which offer some seclusion and privacy. Time Out’s readers were right – the Bavarian was incredible, and I’m now a total burger convert. The Rugby Boy has always been a big fan of Honest Burger, but I have to say, it doesn’t compare to Hache, and I will certainly be taking him back to convince him otherwise!
Soho on a Saturday night is insane. I work just around the corner, and so am well accustomed to the buzz of daytime, but at night that part of town is transformed. Known for its sex shops, nightclubs and theatres, you wouldn’t expect to turn a corner and find 1920s glamour personified. And yet that’s what Kettner’s was for me. A beautiful hidden gem in plain site, dinner at Kettner’s was hands down one of the best meals I’ve had all year. The atmosphere is spot on, with piano music during dinner, and attentive staff. And there’s a separate cocktail and champagne bar for pre-dinner drinks before you head into the brasserie. It’s rare that I look at a menu and want to order everything on it … but that was certainly the case at Kettner’s … so I need to head back a fair few more times!