Whatever the plans are for Valentine's night, food is always a sure winner, and there’s certainly no shortfall of restaurants for that annual celebration of love in Shoreditch and Hackney. Picking one with both a gentle ambience and a tantalising menu that inspires passion, can be a daunting notion. Here’s the 5 top sit-down restaurants in the area that are sure to deliver a night of delights.
lobsterbar.co.uk | Unit 2, Arthaus building, 205 Richmond Road E8 3NJ
There are few foods in the world that look quite as impressive on a plate as a perfectly pink lobster waiting to be devoured. Then what better destination for a delectable Valentine's dinner with your beloved? Lobster Bar isn’t your crisp-white-table-cloth kind of deal, it boasts a warm and casual atmosphere to keep it comfy - and if you’re feeling like braving the elements under a romantic ceiling of stars in London Fields - the restaurant kindly offers takeaway too!
The food offerings include shelled lobster dishes served with chips, their famously indulgent brioche lobster rolls, succulent market-fresh fish fillets and juicy beef steaks smothered with the perfect accompaniment to a grill: chimichurri sauce.
que-viet.co.uk | 102 Kingsland Road E2 8DP
Choosing the right Vietnamese restaurant on Kingsland Road can be a mind-boggling challenge, with the looming fear of hearing the words “you should have gone to so-and-so, that’s the best one” hanging over you. But for a night out with your special one, Que Viet perfectly fits the bill, with a more tranquil and intimate ‘uptown’ feel than its diner style contemporaries on the street.
The unobjectionably low price tag won’t break you into a sweat earlier than anticipated on the night, and the deliciously authentic dishes will get the culinary juices flowing - don’t miss the crispy soft shell crab or the grilled fresh scallops for starters, and the wok fried goat meat with chilli and lemon grass or the chicken and prawn banana blossom salad for mains.
The Corner Room
townhallhotel.com/cornerroom | Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, London E2 9NF
On the first floor of a former town hall, art-deco Edwardian features frame The Corner Room in time-honoured charm. However the true beauty of this joint is the harmonious menu, with deeply satisfying dishes such as macadamia miso encrusted lamb and innovative touches like squid with fennel jersey royals. Though used as a film set, you don't have to be an A-lister to enjoy this venue; the casual vibe and the affordable prices are perfect for a down-to-earth night of cuisine that will leave you and your partner feeling on top of the world.
100hoxton.com | 100-102 Hoxton Street N1 6SG
For the foodie couples out there, there is nothing more exciting than a dinner date for two, and what better way to heat things up than small plates rich in aphrodisiacal herbs and spices - and designed for sharing of course. A former kebab shop that's been gentrified with industrial chic, trendy 100 Hoxton delivers tapas with a twist ; utilising a beautifully balanced palate to serve fusion dishes that'll have you globe-trotting from west to east all from your seat.
Expertly prepared octopus is surprisingly perfect with a garam masala celeriac purée, while a duck dish with courgette kimchee and cashew beer butter sends the tastebuds spiralling. Whether it's sides like the poppy seed tatties, desserts such as a lime/mango/candied chilli panna cotta, or the cocktails including the unlikely combination of gin, egg white, gooseberry and fennel jam - food with never be bland or boring again
pidginlondon.com | 52 Wilton Way, Hackney E8 1BG
Considering the calibre of food coming out of Pidgin, it comes as a shock that the owners have no prior restaurant experience. They have run a successful supper club before though so true to their roots, they serve a weekly changing four-course set menu along with an evolving drinks list.
This Valentine's Day couples can look forward to an oyster starter, a Szechuan confit duck dish and a sensational onglet main, with a chocolate dessert to finish - we won't spoil the upcoming culinary revelation any more than that, but just know that there is a burnt lime vodka cocktail in the mix too.
Suspense is sexy and Pidgin knows it - as is the seductive interplay between melt-in-your-mouth textures, subtle flavours and eyewateringly stunning plate arrangements. The restaurant itself is gracefully simple but the menu is nothing close to conventional, with chefs who cook from the heart with an array of playful ingredients, from wild crops and booze to flowers and North African spice mixes. Without a doubt, it'll be more than each other that you'll find irresistible if you head here on Sunday.