Dear boys and girls here is a little treat for you…I will in the following reviews give you a guided tour to the culinary London from the point of view of dating. Because they say that the right way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I’ll let you know that the easy way to a girls heart – and knickers – is through some classic and classy wining and dining. So herein follows a guide to the best pre-dinner date cocktail bars, the little gems of London’s restaurants and the best places to swoosh the girl (or man) of your dream of their feet with exceptional cooking…..and hopefully you’ll have breakfast in bed tomorrow morning!
Date number 1 – Mr Banker at Milk & Honey
I’m an events manager in the City of London and one of the many great advantages (except for your normal 9 to 5) is that I get to dress up, boss people around and meet a lot of well groomed men at work. So when Mr. Banker, a regular at my venue, asked me out it didn’t take long for me to accept. But be wary men, because this is where it all starts! A date is not just a date from the moment you sit down at the table…no, no, no! A girl will judge you on everything from the way that you ask her out, the day that you ask her out all the way up to the arrangement and organization etc.
For example, if you ask a girl out for dinner, try asking her out on a Tuesday or Wednesday, this gives you both a mid-week treat and if you realize you don’t fancy her, you have the perfect excuse of an early morning meeting the following day. But again, this goes both ways so you might find yourself alone in the cab at the end of the night. But hey! It’s the charm of the game. However, if you are planning to dance at a concert followed by a bar, save it for the weekend so both you and your date can let their hair down without worrying about the 7am alarm.
Mr Banker picked me up in a black cab (I love the classic London cabs, there is this special feeling with them making me feel a bit like a lady, and definitely worth not having to find parking in the middle of central London) and we hit course in to Soho. We were going for drinks and dinner at the infamous Milk & Honey member’s bar. My heart does always skip a beat at the mention of members bar! Milk and Honey opened in Soho, London, in April 2002 and is part of The Rushmoore Group that also owned the infamous East Rooms (that very mysteriously burned to the ground a few years back) and Milk & Honey’s original incarnation opened in New York in January 2000 and is located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side; There are rumours that you have to pass through a Chinese take-away kitchen in a small alley to reach the reception and a reservation-hotline that changes number every week! Luckily it is not so hidden here in the UK, but it still takes a bit of Soho knowledge to be able to find the sign-less big black door.
Mr Banker rang the bell, gave his name and the doors opened. The venue is set out to seduce and impress from the first step my heel set on the red carpet in the entrance. It’s a great little venue set over three floor with a Game’s room that can be hired for private events on the top floor. The tables are small and intimate and perfect for a bit of cheeky hand holding under the edge. The staff are friendly but not over attending, and give us the perfect privacy for a date or business meeting.
The cocktail list is I m p r e s s i v e, and they have some of the finest spirits and wines on the market with a great influence of the new world wines. Try a bottle of Delamotte Champagne (£65) and you can’t go wrong! I started with a Florodora (£8.50 Gin, raspberry, lime, ginger, soda) and Mr. Banker had a Devil’s Share (£8.50 Bourbon, orange, ginger, maple, lemon). I love a man with a bit of courage when it comes to cocktails, but Google it before guys, there’s nothing more un-attractive then a man sipping a cosmopolitan from a martini glass – we want manly cocktails served in short stable glasses!
Milk & Honey offers a grazing style menu, everything to share and a lot of nibbles that you can feed each other with. We ordered Crisp Arancini (£9 mushroom, truffle & parmesan risotto herb aioli) an Italian little rice ball, yummy and perfectly bite sized. We also had a Charcuterie Board (£16 bresaola, proscitto crudo, coppa, selection of pickles) which I did feel could have been a little meatier; most of the wooded board was simply dressed in lettuce. The cocktails were doing the trick tough and I was very much enjoying the dimmed surroundings and cool background music. Milk & Honey truly is a perfect first date spot! For my main course I had The Scallops (£11 prosciutto, red pesto & ruccola) and, while delicious, I do wish that Milk & Honey had served oysters!
For dessert I had an Espresso Martini (£9) cocktail – food wise, the only dessert choice really is a cheese board and I’m not a big fan of cheesy breath! Mr. Banker was a bit tipsy at this point so he tried one of the UK brewed beers, Proof Pilsen (£4 Greenwich, UK) and that’s where it all started to go down hill. After two beers, Mr. Banker turned from a charming gentleman into a clingy, drunk…boy….oops! What too much booze can do! Drink with your date in mind guys!.
The bill came to just under £100 including healthy tips of 12.5% that we gave to the staff (always check before paying service in Londo, as some restaurant don’t give this to the staff).
THE DATE’S END:
Even though Mr. Banker did show great organization skills, I was impressed with the venue of choice. The beer breath and arrogance was too much to handle at this point and, as Mr. Banker hailed a cab, I told him about my early morning meeting. I found myself smiling as I sipped my latte on an overcrowded tube the following morning! How I do like the charm of the game.
To make a reservation at Milk & Honey, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Non-members are allowed in for drinks and dinner before 8pm Monday-Friday with reservations. Memberships start from £7,000 per year and give you and your guests access to all the sites in The Rushmoore Group with or without reservations.