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.
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.
This romantic restaurant is near invisible. The only sign it exists is if you either a) look up as you are walking past at night and notice people sitting in the windows or b) walk by the entrance on the side street and see the label on the buzzer. But Upstairs is truly one of London’s hidden gems and well worth making the trip to Brixton to sample their delicious menu.
It was the final Friday before Christmas, I had promised my date the week before that I would treat her to a romantic Christmas meal in town, but heavy work do’s and last minute Christmas shopping had distracted me from my promise and I found myself in a mad rush to find an available slot at a good restaurant. Call after call I was greeted with the same response, ‘Fully booked.’ Having no luck by phone, I consulted TripAdvisor which gave a great recommendation to a charming French bistro on Brick Lane – Chez Elles (ranked 10th best London restaurant) I immediately called them and thankfully managed to get the last table of the night at 21:30. I was in for a treat!
Just a stones throw from Brick Lane, down arty Cheshire Street is ‘The Carpenter’s Arms’, a cosy and warm pub rumoured to be an old haunting ground of the famous Kray Twins. It serves a small menu of scrumptious food and an excellent selection of wines and beer. This pub was recommended to me by a friend who lives nearby and I thank her for such a great find.
I was making my way back to Tottenham Court Road after seeing a show at The Soho Theatre, when I walked past this delightful and unique French Bistro. What caught not only my eye but also my ears was a bustling and intimate atmosphere wonderfully animated by a live pianist playing at the entrance. Peering through the window, you could sense the buzz and excitement emanating from inside. At that moment, I decided that my next dating venture would have to be, Pierre Victoire!
Waterloo is one of my favourite areas of London, sitting right by the river with a multitude of bars and restaurants and the occasional pop up market. Plus it’s within easy walking distance of the west end. Unfortunately a lot of other people think the same about Waterloo, especially those pesky tourists. As such this popular tourist area usually comes complete with steep tourist prices. However before you run screaming from Waterloo please don’t panic – it still has loads of bars that aren’t extortionate and are perfect for a date. Here are some of our favourites that have never let us down.
I’m not a massive fan of the city so I was unsure to be brought to Liverpool Street on a recent date. But hidden down a tiny alleyway is this beautiful Italian restaurant.
We were seated on a little candlelit table next to the window and I was instantly impressed by the welcoming wait staff and stylish Italian feel that the restaurant had. Being an Italian wine bar, there was an extensive choice of wines. Admittedly, I don’t know much about wines so I let my date decide. Luckily he choose a delicious bottle of red which was the perfect start to our evening.
A delightful little pub, The Gladstone Arms is hidden down a side street next to Borough Station.
Small but perfectly formed, the Gladstone is exactly what a pub should be. It’s quintessentially old English, lit by candlelight and fairy lights and offers live music in the downstairs bar on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. On my date there was live jazz in the form of a pianist and double bass player which was the perfect addition to the relaxed atmosphere. If you’re not up for live music, then visit the mellow upstairs lounge and make use of the scrabble and chess games on offer.