Lisa Niven, Digital Beauty Editor
My husband and I had our wedding reception at Lyle’s in Shoreditch and so it has automatically become a go-to for special occasions. The food is absolutely brilliant (a pea dish we had as a first course on our wedding day is one of their signature dishes, look out for it), they have great natural wines and the space is beautiful – bright, airy and thoughtfully designed. Despite the quality of the food and its Michelin star, the atmosphere is chilled, friendly and not at all snobby and the staff are great. We’d be frequent visitors regardless, but having such great memories of it from our wedding day means it’ll be a favourite for life.
Alice Newbold, Digital News Editor
Unless it’s a Special Occasion, it’s rare that Charlie and I leave South London for date nights. Why get the overground when you can stroll home via a spot of people watching on Rye Lane? One such wander away is Babette in Nunhead. Run by a French lady (Babette) who is a spectacular host, but spectacularly disorganised, what she lacks in any sort of sensible booking system, she makes up for in good vibes. For the evening, Babette does platters. Not the Toby Carvery kind but the considered French kind. Every dip and morsel on there is homemade and delicious. It comes with a stack of local sourdough and salt-laden butter. And most importantly wine. We hole ourselves up in a corner, browse the latest trinkets adorning the bookshelves and watch Babette bring the place to life.
Alice Casely-Hayford, Digital Editor
As two major foodies, our date nights mostly revolve around trying out new restaurants. Jolene, from the people behind Western Laundry and Primeur, just opened a stone’s throw from our house and I’m quite certain it will become a regular haunt of ours. It means conversation is minimal as we devour the food but the enjoyment is felt mutually. Sharing garlic and rosemary flatbread and anchovies might not sound like the most romantic, kiss-inducing starter but my god, they’re good, and there’s something very intimate about sharing plates. For the main course, I highly recommend the pappardelle and beef ragu, because there’s nothing sexier than pasta. (We also shared half a roast chicken but that’s optional). A slice of the intensely rich chocolate cake is the perfect way to polish off the dinner date. With the best company (in the form of my equally gluttonous boyfriend), the most delicious menu and the chic low-lit setting, we’ll be making Jolene our date night regular. Just don’t steal our favourite spot at the back.
Lauren Murdoch-Smith, Beauty & Lifestyle Editor
Date nights are extremely rare for my husband and I because we have two small children, so when it does happen we have to make it special. I should also caveat our preferred date venue with the fact that we’re also a bit of an old fashioned pair and love the traditional atmosphere, food and environment of Le Gavroche in Mayfair. Michel Roux Jr’s two Michelin star restaurant is cosy, delicious and the service is so seamless they predict what you want and need before you know yourself, which makes for an uninterrupted, precious couple of hours together. We normally opt for the set lunch menu too, which means we don’t have to rush back to a babysitter and because it offers paired wines and a cheese trolley to die for. It’s great value as well and you often see Michel pop out of the kitchen, an excellent added bonus! We’re seated in one of large romantic booths thanks to Emmanuelle, the incredible maître d who knows how to make Le Gavroche our special place.