1 | For Proper French Romance, Even On The Hop: Blanchette (above)
There is a Parisian restaurant in Soho that absolutely screams ‘date.’ It’s called Blanchette and it opened just over a year ago serving small sharing plates of rich Franco food (and bread that comes in brown paper bags). The modestly sized venue makes for particularly cosy assignations, an effect much aided by the intimate tables, low lighting and beautiful wooden furnishings.
Just recently, it has started offering express lunchtime options with an additional range of traditional French main dishes like steak frites, Toulouse sausage cassoulet, and asparagus with grilled sourdough and a fried egg. All are under a tenner, and mean that you don't have to scrimp on the romance just because it's the middle of the day - this place has got you covered. Book yourself a table just to guarantee a spot.
9 D’Arblay Street, London, W1F 8DR; blanchettesoho.co.uk
2 | For Patriotic Playtime: St George’s Day at Drink, Shop & Do
Today we celebrate Saint George – slayer of dragons, so legends tell. And we know how hard dragons are to control thanks to a particularly popular TV show of the moment, so that must deserve some credit. The ever eccentric Drink, Shop & Do bar in King’s Cross has tailored its Thursday activity accordingly, with a papier mache dragon-making night. You know you want to…
This is a chance to get your hands dirty and be a little bit creative (or just make a big mess if that’s more your style), whilst sipping on cocktails. They do a mean Georgia Julip, and the Rose and Lychee Martini’s not bad either. The artwork is free to partake in – you just buy the food and drink; cheese and charcuterie boards should keep your stomach from rumbling. Tables for two are available as walk-ins, so turn up in good time for the 7pm start to ensure your place.
9 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DZX; drinkshopdo.com
3 | For Highland Frolics: Dram and Smoke
This pop-up does what it says on the tin – whisky and smokiness, and variations thereof – so if you want an uproarious Scottish welcome with five courses of fantastically tasty grub, then book yourself in to it. And I would do so sooner rather than later, as tickets tend to sell like hot cakes – smokin’ hot (sorry). This particular incarnation of the restaurant is by the river in Hackney Wick until 16th May. There is table tennis, beer pong and a whole host of drink-friendly games to keep you entertained but the food is worth visiting for in itself.
After a whisky cocktail on arrival to get you in the mood, you are seated at big tables, in the middle of which food appears by the mound. Lots of it has been treated to a spell in a whisky barrel smoker, which infuses many aspects of a menu that includes traditional things like Cullen Skink, onion broth, and tattie scones, plus potted duck in jam jars with marmalade dressing. The pièce de résistance is the salt-baked lamb shoulder, which will be entrusted to your table with a hammer to get through the crust. If you mange to prove your manliness thus, you can finish with a lemon hot toddy tart, and then move on to the bar – and that beer pong room.
Tickets cost £40; Wed-Sat
Swan Wharf, 60 Dace Road, London, E3 2NQ; dramandsmoke.com
4 | For A Dose Of Culture: Roy’s People: Little Heroes
Copyright: Roy's People
It can be hard dragging someone along to an exhibition, but the Curious Duke Gallery has a quirky one on at the moment that you’d be a total grump not to enjoy. It’s also free, so an easy one to pop in on at some point over the weekend. Roy’s People is showing off his colony of miniatures, all captured in everyday situations like sheltering from the rain. (It just so happens that these tiny little folk only need a beer bottle cap instead of an umbrella). It’s all totally random, but very much worth a gander.
And once you’re done at the gallery, then it’s but a short walk to the newly opened second branch of Ceviche, where you can enjoy some zingy fresh fish and a few too many Pisco Sours. What else are weekends for?
Curious Duke Gallery, 173 Whitecross Street, London, EC1Y 8JT; curiousdukegallery.com
Ceviche Old St, 2 Baldwin Street, London, WC1V 9NU; cevicheuk.com