White table cloths and michelin stars are dinner date staples, but for a more informal and enjoyable night out I wouldn’t rush right in with the violins and roses. Here are my favourite alternative date restaurants:
1) NOPI This friendly restaurant offers exceptional small sharing plates and larger mains with a fusion of Italian food and ingredients from the far east. You can sit upstairs in their formal restaurant or in the basement around a shared table whilst you watch the chefs at work. And after… Marks Bar – Brewer street.
2) Pollen Street Social – This place has to be on any food lovers list and is the perfect date restaurant. Jason Atherton created this it specifically to make high end food more approachable and informal, but it still delivers on taste and service. When you’re ready for your pudding ask to sit at his specially designed dessert bar where you can talk to the chefs whilst they prepare your desert. And after… Sketch – Conduit street.
3) Roka – Ok, so this place is not cheap, but it is effortlessly cool and the food is delicious. Cutting edge Japanese food from sushi to great BBQ dishes. If you are feeling adventurous (and rich) try one of their tasting menus. And after… The Shochu Lounge (below Roka)
4) Cay Tre, Old street – This place is an institution, they make some of the best Vietnamese food in London within a stripped down trendy Shoreditch space. The food is familiar enough to order with confidence but is lighter and healthier than your standard chinese. This place is also great for food theatre as some of the dishes are finished at your table and for the more adventurous amongst you can even cook your own seared beef summer rolls… Great fun, if a little messy. And after… Nightjar
5) Spuntino – Burgers and mac n’ cheese may not be what you think of first when setting up a dinner date, but bare with me. This place is impossibly trendy and has the food to back it up. When you enter the unmarked tiny restaurant you’ll be greeted by some very friendly staff who will seat you at the bar… The restaurant only holds around 25 people in one sitting so you may have to wait but try one of their cocktails whilst you do. The food and music are true Americana and the vibe is friendly – after all there is nothing wrong with keeping it simple. And after… The Experimental Cocktail Club