London Date Guide http://www.londondateguide.com Reviews, guides and ideas of the best places in London to go on a date Fri, 05 Sep 2014 14:20:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Briciole http://www.londondateguide.com/briciole/ http://www.londondateguide.com/briciole/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:21:57 +0000 http://www.londondateguide.com/?p=4053 Close to Edgware Road station in the heart of Marylebone sits the wonderful Briciole that thankfully happened upon me whilst on a date in the area. A light and airy café, restaurant and deli, Briciole is the epitome of laid-back Italian café culture.

Briciole Outside

Briciole is split into just a few small rooms consisting of the deli and the restaurant, there is also some outdoor seating for al fresco dining if the weather is nice.

Entering the trattoria through the deli that serves a large range of meats and cheeses sitting tantalisingly behind the counter, we were greeted by friendly staff with a smile and a “ciao” who instantly made us feel like part of the family, we knew we were on to a winner.

The mouth-watering deli products that we passed on the way in were also on the menu in the restaurant, perfect for a snack at lunch or something to nibble on over drinks, we opted to get a few of these as starters as well as a finely made Aperol spritz each.

Briciole Restaurant

The mains are small but beautifully cooked, fresh and full of flavour, we dined on tagliatelle with lamb ragout and asparagus as well as meatballs in pea sauce with a side of wilted spinach and balsamic vinegar.

A fantastic option to dine at for lunch or dinner if you’re in the Marylebone area. There are a few good pubs nearby to grab a drink at afterwards and you can always wander up to Paddington Basin and Little Venice for a mooch around.

Briciole is the little sister of Latium restaurant in Fitzrovia which is billed as one of the best Italian restaurants in London, if you’re looking for a more central option then this makes the ideal candidate.

Useful Links
Briciole Website
Google Map Link for Briciole
Closest Tube / Rail: Edgware Road / Marylebone

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Bingo Mecca Great Date http://www.londondateguide.com/bingo-mecca-great-date/ http://www.londondateguide.com/bingo-mecca-great-date/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:03:51 +0000 http://www.londondateguide.com/?p=4005 Some of you may think that bingo halls are old fashioned, only for old ladies or hen do’s and generally just not your scene. You’re wrong, well, half wrong. I admit Bingo has a lot of stigma about it, it is full of old ladies but is also full of characters. Yes the halls are bit old fashioned but it’s still a lot of fun, definitely not a game to be sniffed at, especially for a date.

Read more about a date to the bingo

We ventured to Mecca Bingo in Camden for more of an offbeat date. Having never been to a proper bingo hall before it was quite daunting, on arrival we had to sign up to be members, this only took two minutes but by this point we’d already seen some of the characters that bingo attracts; two old dears flirting with the man behind the counter and commenting on the couple (us) that had just arrived. Like I said daunting but funny all the same. With the membership card (free) came a dabber and some vouchers for drinks that would come in handy during the night. After you’ve got your membership you need to buy game books as well as additional game sheets for the big money draws. The price varies night to night so check before you go, on Tuesdays it’s about £20 per person.

Walking into the hall you realise how MASSIVE it is, it could probably seat 500 people or more easily however it was mostly empty on our visit, Tuesday is one of the quieter nights but we have been informed that Thursday to Sunday are the busiest nights with larger prizes up for grabs.

Mecca Bingo Date - Bingo Hall

Taken at the end of the night when everyone had left

Luckily before the first game of the night started we had a lovely membership manager called Eva teach us how to play, explain the rules and what to do, it’s pretty simple but her guidance definitely came in useful.

When the first game started we both had an exhilarating rush, not quite bungee jumping or sky-diving but a rush all the same. Keeping up with the caller, dabbing your numbers off, checking to see if you had a winning line and being a little tipsy was tough going. a wave of relief hit us when someone shouted “EAR YAR” (It means they’d won) and we got a little respite.

Mecca Bingo Date Gamesheet

After the first 3 games there was a much-needed short break so ordered something to eat. The food is very cheap and similar to the quality you’d get at a Wetherspoon however you’re not there for the food and it’s great for a snack. The bar is also ridiculously cheap, £2.50 for a pint, £7 for a bottle of wine and yes they had a deal on WKD’s. I will be coming here first when I’m next on a night out in Camden.

Mecca Bingo Date Drinks Offers

By end of the night after loads more games we’d won £10 and at one point I was one number off a full house which would have bagged us £150 though at that moment I thought I was close to a heart attack, I‘m not sure how the old timers do it.

As well as the Camden club there is also a Mecca Bingo in Hoxton so both in brilliant locations for going out afterwards, it finished fairly early (around 9pm) giving you plenty of time to hit up some bars in the area but to be honest after the adrenalin rush you may just need a lie down.

If you’re after something truly different from the norm then a date to Mecca Bingo is definitely the way to go, not for a first or second date but third date onwards it’s a winner.

Useful Links
Mecca Bingo Website (clubs)
Google Maps Link Mecca Bingo Camden
Closest Tube / Rail: Camden
Google Maps Link for Mecca Bingo Hoxton
Closest Tube / Rail: Hoxton

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The Sign of The Don http://www.londondateguide.com/sign-of-the-don/ http://www.londondateguide.com/sign-of-the-don/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:25:52 +0000 http://www.londondateguide.com/?p=3981 Hidden in the heart of the City of London is The Sign of The Don, a bar and bistro tucked away down St Swithins Lane close to The Bank of England. Offering one of the best priced set menus in the city and set in a medieval cellar, The Sign of The Don is just the ticket for a weeknight date among the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Sign of the Don Restaurant Sign

The vaults and building in which it sits has a wonderful history, originally a meeting hall for the Worshipful Company of Drapers in 1342, then in 1798 used to bottle imported sherry and port for distribution across the globe. Now owned by The Bleeding Heart Restaurant Group they have transformed this fantastic building into two fantastic restaurants; “The Sign of The Don” and its more expensive big brother, fine dining restaurant “The Don” which also has a prix fixe menu.

Arriving to a rather empty upstairs bar, we were a little perplexed and got that “oh no” feeling but that soon disappeared after following the neon sign down the stairs to the cellar and vaults. The medieval cellar is split into sections with some private dining areas, we were sat in the more modern area decorated with barrel hoops, destination stencils and bottles harking back to the port and sherry exportation business that once ran from there.

The Sign of the Don Restaurant

To start we shared starters and had the scotch duck egg which came hot, crispy and with a runny yolk – just how it should be. The other starter was a trio of croquettas; ham & chorizo, salt cod and mushroom. All were rich and comforting with soft melting centers.

To drink we just ordered some of the cheaper Trinity Hill wine which the restaurant seems partnered with however it wasn’t that great so go for something a bit nicer which will complement your meal.

After the quite calorific starters we tucked into Dingley Dell pork with puy lentils and a large portion of black pudding as well as Lamb with peashoots, beans and mint, well presented and filling.

The Sign of the Don - Dingley Dell Pork

Desserts were small and simple yet very rich, The orange and pistachio cake with crème anglaise was so so but he only way to describe the salted caramel chocolate pot is “killer”.

The service throughout the night was impeccable and really made us feel special, especially our friendly French Maitre d’ who made light conversation, was attentive and really knew her stuff.

For £21.50 for three courses the prix fixe menu is an absolute steal, with a choice of seven dishes for each course there is bound to be something that tickles your tastebuds and a little tip, If you book on OpenTable or over the phone and mention that you’re getting the prix fixe menu then you will receive a free glass of Cava which is a nice bonus.

Useful Links
The Sign of The Don Website
Google Map Link for The Sign of the Don
Closest Tube / Rail: Bank / Cannon Street / Monument.

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Little Nan’s http://www.londondateguide.com/little-nans/ http://www.londondateguide.com/little-nans/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 13:53:52 +0000 http://www.londondateguide.com/?p=4000 Ever wanted to know what having a disco and cocktails round at your nan’s would be like? This is a question that plagued my mind and millions of others like me for quite a while, until now…

Deep down Deptford way is Little Nan’s, the ultimate nan’s house crammed full of the furniture, chintz and stuffed toys. A small speakeasy style bar it’s hidden at the back of a corridor full of bins, an easy bar for a date bursting with novelty, talking points and teacups.

Little Nan's Bar in Deptford

Deptford is one of London’s up and coming area’s, a bit like Dalston but with less skinny jeans.
It has a few art galleries and is close to Greenwich so simple to get to after a date at the Royal Observatory or such like.

Little Nan’s sits close to Deptford Bridge DLR Station and is solely marked by a door propped open by a chair with a balloon on, quite missable if you don’t have your eyes peeled. Entering into a corridor full of bins you can hear the faint sounds of the Bee Gees coming from the back.

Stepping through into the one-roomed small and cosy bar that smells like your loft it feels as though you’ve gone back in time to an intimate party in your grandmas house.

Little Nan's Bar in Deptford Chintz

The space is limited, seats, tables and tat take up the majority of the room leaving a small amount of standing room. Lamps with tasselled shades, ghastly pictures and odd ornaments decorate the room leaving no blank spaces always giving you something to look at.

The bar itself has barely enough room for two people behind it with the amount of teacups they have stashed and it has a distinct “Del Boy” theme. Cocktails are served from either tea cups and pots or seventies crystal glasses which is always fun. The cocktail list is extensive, all named after celebrities the old fogies enjoy such as the “King Kriss Akabusi”, and my personal favourite “The Lady Anneka Rice” which consisted of an alcoholic chocolate shake with a dollop of marshmallow fluff. The bar also serves snacks such as cheese straws, pork pies and penny sweets.

Little Nan's Bar in Deptford Lady Anneka Rice Cocktail

On our visit if you took a picture of Little Nan’s decor or drinks and tweeted you received one of their free flavoured shots for each tweet. Flavours included old timer favourites such as Weather’s Original and Rhubarb and Custard, well worth checking if they have this offer on when you go.

Booking is highly recommended, there is only limited space and it is a popular little bar.

For a fun, novelty and out-and-out chintz date bar head to Little Nan’s, and as the cross stitch says

“There ain’t no party like a Little Nan’s tea party”

Little Nan's Bar in Deptford Cross Stitch

Useful Links
Little Nan’s Website
Google Map Link for Little Nan’s
Closest Tube/ Rail: Deptford Bridge

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Belair House http://www.londondateguide.com/belair-house/ http://www.londondateguide.com/belair-house/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 12:58:19 +0000 http://www.londondateguide.com/?p=3951 Situated deep in the heart of Dulwich is Belair House, a beautiful 18th Century Georgian mansion that lies in the grounds of Belair park. A quirky yet stylish venue with eccentric staff, delicious food and well made cocktails. It is an ideal venue to hit up on a relaxed summertime date in South East London.

Read more about Belair House in Dulwich

To get to this gem you can walk through Belair Park which is especially lovely on a hot day. The park is popular with couples, families and seems worlds away from the maddening hordes that plague Clapham Common as soon as the sun shows its face.

Arriving at the white house you realise just how grand it is, almost like something out of a music video, decked out with chandeliers, enormous gold framed over the top pictures and the odd touch of kitsch & humour. Off the grand entrance hallway is the spacious and airy dining room as well as the ground floor bar that is of a smaller size than one would expect but a large terrace leads off this and overlooks the park.

Belair  House - Dining-Room

Craft beer and cocktails are the tipples of choice and the waiters know their stuff when it comes to the food and drink, their recommendations always go down a treat. The roast’s come with the most enormous Yorkshire puddings and the pork is top-notch so highly recommend a Sunday visit.

The staff do an excellent job of looking after everyone, on our visit they made us feel very at home, relaxed and kept the drinks flowing. They are very friendly characters and quite offbeat, all the men with facial hair, possibly a requirement to work there, one of the guys sported a very well-groomed smaller version of Salvador Dali’s famous mustache.

Belair House - Dali Mustache

Entertainment focuses on music from the 1920’s, 30’s, 40s and 50’s and with regular events such as swing dancing classes, live jazz bands and Dj’s so be sure to check the website for any goings on.

This picturesque bar / restaurant / palace is a wonderful escape for a date on a sunny day, granted Dulwich is a bit of a mission to get to but it is definitely worth heading down there if you’re looking for a wonderful park for a picnic.

Belair House is close to West Dulwich Station however you could go to North Dulwich and walk down through the lovely Dulwich Village to get there.

To explore more of Dulwich we recommend getting one of the numerous London Walking Books on Amazon, most feature an excellent walk through Dulwich and it’s surrounds.

Useful Links
Belair House Website
Belair House Google Map Link
Closest Tube/Rail: West Dulwich

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The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden http://www.londondateguide.com/queen-elizabeth-hall-roof-garden/ http://www.londondateguide.com/queen-elizabeth-hall-roof-garden/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 09:42:17 +0000 http://www.londondateguide.com/?p=3769 Hiding in plain view on a rooftops on the Southbank is ‘The Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden’, One of the prettiest and most peaceful places in the area. If you’re on a date nearby then it is well worth a visit to this secret little haven.

Southbank Centre's Roof Garden on the Queen Elizabeth Hall

© Belinda Lawley

Designed by the Eden Project the roof garden is open daily from 10am to 10pm April through to October (depending on weather) and it is one of the best kept secrets along this busy tourist stretch.

Providing fantastic panoramic views of London along the Thames, it is a mini green oasis in which to relax and get away from the crowds on the riverside path below. With troughs full of wildflowers, mini allotments, trees and a lawn you can sit amongst the flora with a jug of Pimms and while the day away.

Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden - Allotments and Wildflowers

The cafe bar is run by ‘Company of Cooks’. It serves small salads, sandwiches, snacks and cakes and is on the pricey side but that’s no great shock considering it’s unique location.

The rooftop garden is a wonderful romantic setting if on a date; ideal for having a drink before catching a show at The National or a film at the BFI. To find this little gem, simply climb the yellow spiral staircase at the side of the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

See more of the best places for a date on the Southbank >>

Useful Links
Roof Gardens on the Southbank Website
Google Map Link for the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Gardens
Closest Tube / Rail: Waterloo / Embankment

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Discount Suit Company http://www.londondateguide.com/discount-suit-company/ http://www.londondateguide.com/discount-suit-company/#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 14:24:22 +0000 http://www.londondateguide.com/?p=3771 A subterranean bar in an unusual location on the edge of the city, ‘Discount Suit Company’ is an underground speakeasy that once was the stockroom of the tailors above. Sitting in the centre of Wentworth Street (part of the Petticoat Lane Market) it’s surrounded by street traders and fabric shops, but once the hubbub of the trading market ceases, the street falls silent, unless you know what’s lurking underground! This is the perfect location for a secret speakeasy.

Discount Suit Company - Outside

Stepping down the wooden stairs through a velvet curtain into the small dimly lit bar, my date and I were greeted by a very friendly waitress. While our eyes adjusted to the moody lighting, we could hear the super cool funk and northern soul playing through the speakers, setting the scene for a very relaxed and somewhat vintage experience. Luckily it wasn’t busy when we arrived so we managed to get a seat (there’s not many), within half an hour it had filled to capacity so we timed it perfectly!

Discount Suit Company - Interior

The decor of Discount Suit Company is wood panelling with exposed brickwork, pipes and beams, think Wilton’s Music Hall’s grungier little sister. It is an atmospheric and sexy little bar that gives the feeling you’ve stepped in to a laid back and informal 1960’s spy drama.

Discount Suit Company - Bar

The cocktail menu is small, yet well tailored to suit all tastes, it hosts around 10 cocktails, all delightfully named and full of very eccentric flavours and ingredients. So eccentric that my date and I were a little befuddled as to what to choose, but our trusted waitress was only too happy to sit down and talk us through it all. She really knew her stuff and wanted to get to know what we liked, I replied “something sweet but manly” (don’t laugh) so she recommended the “Goldfish Bathtub” which was spot on. My date got a “Skipper” – a delicious blend of rum and white port, which was slightly sweet and packed a punch.

Discount Suit Company - Cocktails

We sampled a few more of the flavoursome cocktails but the “Goldfish Bathtub” was a firm favourite. We didn’t get anything to eat but nibbles are available if the form of olives or you can go for a Neal’s Yard Dairy cheeseboard if you need proper snackage.

Discount Suit Company is a quirky, relaxed and intimate speakeasy with personable service and killer cocktails, a quintessential bar for a date in East London, now go reserve yourself a table!

Useful Links
Discount Suit Company Website
Google Map Link for Discount Suit Company
Closest Tube / Rail: Aldgate / Aldgate East / Liverpool Street

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The Menier Chocolate Factory http://www.londondateguide.com/menier-chocolate-factory/ http://www.londondateguide.com/menier-chocolate-factory/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 13:58:30 +0000 http://www.londondateguide.com/?p=3720 Close to London Bridge Station, a short walk down Southwark Street is The Menier Chocolate Factory, an award winning restaurant and performance space for plays, musicals and stand-up comedy that sits comfortable outside of the West End.

Originally the building was, as the name suggests, a chocolate factory for the Menier Company, once one of the largest chocolate companies in the world, but now only a small brand owned by Nestle which can only be bought from Waitrose or in France.

Menier Chocolate Factory

© Lucy McNally

To get to the bar and theatre you have to walk through the delicious smelling restaurant, where those that managed to get the “meal and a show” deal are enjoying their mouth watering food. Even though small, this unpretentious and charming restaurant had an excitable pre-show crowd creating a brilliant ambience that hits the moment you walk in, always a good sign.

The bar at the back is modest and has a different feel from the restaurant; bit of a run-down charm that you would get in a comedy club or music hall and quite chilled out. Filled with show posters and a small cabinet of historical objects from the building’s former days you get a real sense of the history the Chocolate Factory has.

From the bar we made our way into the theatre through a door that before opened was cunningly disguised as a cargo lift. The theatre is a 180 seater with comfortable bench seating and decent amount of tiering so that nobody’s head gets in your way, it also gives you a feeling of being close to the stage wherever you sit.

The show we were seeing was David Baddiel – Fame: Not the Musical, having not seen or heard much from him in quite a while we weren’t sure what to expect but we shouldn’t have worried with Baddiel putting on a warming and hilarious show that takes a slightly self-deprecating look back at moments from his life. Highly recommend seeing this show.

David Baddiel - Menier Chocolate Factory

After the show we decided to eat in the restaurant instead of getting a snack elsewhere as seeing and smelling the food on the way in really swayed us. The standard of the food surprised us, we had a feeling it would be good but it far exceeded expectations. Going for the burger (standard) it was a behemoth that came with massive stacked up chips. high quality and highly satisfying, plugging a craving. My date went for the gnocchi which wouldn’t have been out of place at a high-end Italian. The texture was incredible, light, fluffy and completely moreish, it also came with a giant deep fried Parmesan crisp that she went wild for, definitely a winning dish.

Menier Chocolate Factory - Restaurant

The Menier Chocolate Factory, is an excellent choice for a date, with a fantastic restaurant and lovely theatre you can’t go wrong. Look out on the MCF website for “meal and a show” tickets as these are a total bargain.

See other great places to go on a date in London Bridge >>

Useful Links
Menier Chocolate Factory Website
Google Map Link
Closest Tube / Rail: London Bridge

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Best Vegetarian Restaurants for a Date in London http://www.londondateguide.com/best-vegetarian-restaurants-date-london/ http://www.londondateguide.com/best-vegetarian-restaurants-date-london/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 12:29:36 +0000 http://www.londondateguide.com/?p=968 Here at London Date Guide we understand that vegetarian food isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s becoming increasingly popular in London so it’s worth knowing a few good veggie restaurants in case your date turns out to be one. Luckily London has some of the best vegetarian restaurants around, so in no particular order here are the best vegetarian restaurants in London for a date.

Best Vegetarian Restaurants London

Gallery Cafe

Located near the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green and part of St Margaret’s House Settlement, the Gallery Cafe serves up a lovely selection of vegetarian and vegan food at bargain prices. With an impressive line-up of events with live bands, open mic nights, cinema and poetry readings, the Gallery Cafe is lovely place to dine for a date in East London.
Gallery Cafe Website

Vegetarian Restaurants - Gallery Cafe

Vanilla Black

A high-end vegetarian restaurant hidden down a small street near Chancery Lane, Vanilla Black is a fantastic restaurant for a date even if you’re both the biggest of carnivores. It pushes the boundaries and creates beautiful vegetarian food with an original twist, exciting your taste buds with every bite. Romantic and slick this Michelin recommended restaurant is a sure winner for a date.
Vanilla Black Website

Vanilla Black - Beautifully Presented Food

Orchard Vegetarian Kitchen which is also owned by Vanilla Black is just round the corner and perfect for a lighter bite during the day or early evening.
Orchard Kitchen Website

Mildreds

A compact, light and airy restaurant in Soho serving internationally inspired vegetarian and vegan cuisine with some gluten free options as well. Mildreds don’t take bookings and being a popular choice, expect to queue. You can always grab a cocktail in the bar whilst you wait. With a buzzing atmosphere and friendly staff it is definitely one of the best vegetarian restaurants in London and perfect for a date in the West End.
Mildreds Website

Vegetarian Restaurants - Mildreds

222 Veggie Vegan

A 100% vegan restaurant situated in West Kensington, this small vegan outpost is a friendly and understated haven and serves up some fantastic vegan food. Being one of the only 100% vegan restaurants in London it gets very busy so make sure you reserve a table. 222 Veggie Vegan serves a buffet lunch so we recommend visiting here in the evening if you’re coming on a date so you can make the most of the à la carte menu.
222 Veggie Vegan Website

Vegetarian Restaurants - 222 Veggie Vegan

Vegetarian Indian Restaurants

India has one of the lowest rates of meat consumption in the world so it’s no surprise that there are a fair few vegetarian only Indian restaurants in London. The best and most well-known of these are Woodlands, Sagar and Rasa, all serving up South Indian cuisine and each have a trio of branches around London for you to choose from.

Vegetarian Restaurants - Indian - Sagar

The Gate

The Gate serves gourmet vegetarian food and has branches both in Islington and Hammersmith. Serving up what they like to call “Indo-Iraqi Jewish” cuisine with French and Italian influences, they produce beautiful dishes in a relaxed environment. With impeccable service The Gate restaurants are definitely a winner for a high quality vegetarian meal.
The Gate Website

Vegetarian Restaurants - The Gate

Manna

Set in the lovely neighbourhood of Primrose Hill, Manna restaurant is one of the oldest gourmet vegetarian restaurants in Europe having been established for nearly 50 years. This calming and chic restaurant provides some of the very best vegan food in London with a keen eye on elegant presentation. In the evening Manna is candlelit creating a wonderfully romantic scene for your date.
Manna Website

Vegetarian Restaurants - Manna

Bonnington Cafe

An intimate and quirky community cafe near Vauxhall Station, The Bonnington Cafe serves vegetarian and vegan food and depending on what night of the week it is it may be 100% vegan. The food can vary as the chefs rotate however it is inexpensive and also a BYOB so if you’re on a budget then it is the ideal restaurant for a date.
Bonnington Cafe Website

Bonnington Cafe in Vauxhall

Amico Bio

An intimate and rustic Italian vegetarian restaurant with branches in Holborn and Barbican, Amico Bio is original and charming with an innovative menu that is 100% organic. Deals for this lovely Italian can sometimes be found on Groupon so keep your eyes peeled to get a bargain.
Amico Bio Website

Vegetarian Restaurants - Amico Bio

Itadaki Zen

A first of its kind Japanese vegan restaurant situated in Kings Cross. Relaxed and friendly this inventive little cafe has a huge range of sushi, rolls and other Japanese delicacies to choose from. Portions sizes are small and fine ingredients are used so the price can be a little high but if you’re in need of a light bite or small dinner it is the perfect choice for something a bit different for vegetarians.
Itadaki Zen Website

Vegetarian Restaurants - Itadaki-Zen

The above are purely vegetarian/vegan restaurants however high end restaurants usually do exquisite vegetarian cuisine too such as Galvin at Windows or Clos Maggiore.

Got a favourite Vegetarian restaurant? Let us know by commenting below or get in touch.

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Drakes Tabanco http://www.londondateguide.com/drakes-tabanco/ http://www.londondateguide.com/drakes-tabanco/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 11:01:36 +0000 http://www.londondateguide.com/?p=3314 Tucked away off of Charlotte Street lies shy and retiring Windmill Street, home of Drakes Tabanco, a small, traditional and totally charming Andalusian tapas and sherry tavern. It is the sister restaurant of the superb Barrica and a recent addition to Fitzrovia. With its modest white front (so modest you could almost miss it), light and airy interior and welcoming Spanish staff, Drakes instantly invites you into a different country and culture.

Read Full Review of Drakes Tabanco

Now everybody knows that tapas is best enjoyed in a small group, so we visited Drakes on a double date for a Saturday lunch. We arrived and were greeted by a charming waiter who led us past the bar (which harboured stacked barrels of sherry) down a couple of steps to the lower level dining area which was wonderfully lit by a skylight above. At the back of the dining room is a traditionally Spanish counter with hanging meat, iberico pork legs and stacked loaves of bread.

Meat Counter in Drakes Tabanco

If you are overwhelmed by the vast selection of delights on the menu, Drakes have thoughtfully drawn up a delicious sounding sherry paired tasting menu, however, we opted to order lots of small dishes between us, as one of the party was allergic to shellfish.

We started the would be feast off with Arbequina olives, bread and a slice of freshly cooked still warm tortilla as well as a glass of Fino Classic; a light sherry very similar to white wine. After the nibbles we moved on to the proper dishes – now being a foursome this gave us the opportunity to order a hell of a lot more dishes than one would in a pair, and we took full advantage of this which means that there are far too many dishes to individually mention, but here are our unanimous highlights:

The charcuterie board was seriously good, containing goose rillettes, smoked sausage, salchichon, iberico tongue and cecina as well as pickles and chutneys. Along with the cheese board which had a selection of British and Spanish cheeses, these were a real treat and perfect for sharing between the four of us.

The salmon gravlax, a beautifully generous piece of salmon with a lovely texture. The garlic & chilli prawns were big, juicy and the oil perfect for dipping our bread in. The beef short rib with crushed parsnips was melt in the mouth heaven and the rolled lamb breast with puy lentils had a wonderfully intense lamb flavour.

Drakes Tabanco Meat Board

After the vast amount of mains, we were ready to pop, but since we were drunk and out of control greedy, we thought we would soldier on with desserts. When ordering the desserts (one of each) as well as a large glass of 25 year old Pedro Ximenez sherry, the waiter strongly urged us to order a slightly less sweet sherry. I recall his exact words were, “That’s an awful lot of sugar” In our drunken stupor we stubbornly ignored his advice and went ahead anyway, twenty minutes later feeling ourselves slipping into a sugar induced coma, we learnt our lesson on the price of gluttony – note to self and readers -listen to the waiters they know what they’re talking about.

Despite our failing pancreas’s we still managed to discover some smashing desserts to recommend to you (such dedication). Our must haves were, the apple & oat crumble with hazelnut ice cream – clearly the standout winner if ordering a dessert for yourself. It was warm, crumbly (obvs) and had just the right ratio of crumble to filling. If sharing, The Chocolate & Oloroso Terrine and the Vanilla Ice Cream, Malaga raisins & Pedro Ximenez together made a nice combo.

Drakes Tabanco - Desserts

What felt like an hour was actually three and a half hours of pure indulgence in a relaxed and charming setting with fantastic food and superb service. If you want to escape to Spain for an afternoon, head down to Drakes on Windmill Street!

Sherry to take home at Drakes Tabanco

If go and you enjoy the sherry at your meal (which you will) you can buy a small bottle to take home for around £15.

Useful Links
Drakes Tabanco Website
Google Map Link

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