1 | For Stylish Dinner Dates: Bellanger (above)
Following suit with the raft of European grand cafés popping up across London is the latest from restaurant big-wigs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King. Up in Angel, it sits on Islington Green and serves generous plates of heart-warming Alsatian fare throughout the day. Amongst mahoganied surroundings, share a satisfying pot of Coq du Riesling between the two of you, or there’s a whole section of the menu dedicated to sausages. Deserts are very French and very pretty, rounding off a smart date with a proverbial cherry on top.
9 Islington Green, London, N1 2XH; bellanger.co.uk
2 | For Sunday Blues: Bulleit Takeover at Ladies & Gentlemen
A converted Victoria lavatory in Kentish Town doesn’t straightaway say ‘jazz night’ to you but this subterranean cocktail bar has been proving its mettle for the last year or so and is definitely worth a visit. Convenient, then, that they are holding live jazz evenings from this Sunday, where from 5-11pm guests can sup on Bulleit bourbon cocktails and bask in some blues to beat the Sunday ‘fear’. With Whisky Sours and Old-Fashioneds to drink, and Beef Wellington-style sausage rolls to eat, what more could you want?
17th, 24th, 31st January, 5 – 11pm
2 Highgate Road, London, NW5 1NR
3 | For DIY Suppers: Shuang Shaung
New to Chinatown is a cross between YO! Sushi and a fondue bar that will provide a lot of fun for a date. It’s called Shuang Shuang and it celebrates traditional Chinese hotpots by throwing them into a modern set-up. Sat up at counter-tops across from other diners, with bibs on to combat an inevitably messy meal, you start off by choosing a basic broth, into which you shove whatever meat, fish or veggies you spy on the conveyer belt. Once those are cooked, choose your dipping sauce to add flavour, and voilà. All in all, there are ice-breakers galore and plenty of tasty grub for not excessive amounts of money.
64 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6LU; shuangshuang.co.uk
4 | For Romance Aplenty: Tasting Sessions at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
We can’t recommend this wine bar enough for a surefire date night hit, but here is an extra reason to give it a try: in the season of what are known as the ‘black diamond’ truffles, CVS has dedicated a whole tasting menu to them; over five sumptuous courses, you will soak up that inimitable aroma with the option of wine pairings on the side. It can’t fail to impress, but be warned that you need to book a minimum of five days in advance. If you’re more focused on the booze, the bar’s head sommelier is also hosting some more informal wine-tasting evenings each with a different focus. The next one is Burgundies, on 26 January. See the website for further ahead.
8 – 10 Neal’s Yard, London, WC2H 9DP; cvssevendials.com