Could Valentine’s Day be the one ‘celebration’ of the year that’s actually going to be improved by lockdown?
Whether you’re coupled or single, Feb-One-Four is traditionally awful — ludicrously cheesy, weirdly performative, and, (the one we’re really aggrieved by) doesn’t even have a Maltesers animal associated with it, i.e. all the worst parts of hyper-consumerism, none of the important ones.
On the other hand: Valentine’s pandemic-style looks kind of… better than any other V-Day of yore? No pressure or in fact ability to go out for it, no risk of being violined at over dinner by a roving restaurant musician, and far more (and better) food delivery options across the city than existed pre-coronavirus.
Plan to make it lavishly romantic, joyously platonic, or just self-indulgent like crazy? These restaurants and delivery services have you covered.
Salon menus tend to sell out quickly, and we expect their Valentine’s menu — including cured trout with rye, potato agnolotti with pecorino and chocolate mousse with pistachio — to be snapped up fast. Luckily their standard set menu’s available ongoing, and it’s a regularly-changing three-course thing of beauty that’d brighten any mid-February lockdown night in.
Details: £89 for two people for their Valentine’s menu, delivery on 12 February, and £59 for two people for their normal (and great) set menu — order here from Big Night.
Like their sister restaurant, Salon, you can expect Levan’s Valentine’s set menu to be sold out rapidly, but if you miss out on its espelette gougères with comté, crab ravioli, and short rib, don’t worry — their standard set menu’s a bit less lavish (by one course) but a fair bit cheaper, and likely to be just as exceptionally great.
Details: £95 for two people for their Valentine’s menu, delivery on 12 February, and £59 for two people for their normal (and great) set menu — order here from Big Night.
The Caribe’ feast menu isn’t Valentine’s Day specific, so you could be brightening any winter evening with their food from across the Caribbean islands. The goat feasting menu comes with the meat, several vegetable sides, roti, rice, sauces and rum cake — it looks likely to take a bit more prep than just slinging it in the oven and kicking back with a cocktail while you wait, but if the result’s even close to as good as their in-restaurant meals, we reckon it’s worth the effort.
Details: £38 for the chicken or goat feast, £30 for the vegan feast, local delivery — order here.
Never tried their home delivery service, but if it’s anything like as gorgeously lavish as their Iranian restaurant then we’re fans. The delivery meal includes their Bazaar Bread (unassuming name, mind-blowingly good carbs; hopefully travels well) and mezze — turmeric oil and artichoke dip, olive and pomegranate tapenade, and salt-baked beetroot with whipped feta. The main course is seared quail with hazelnut and date butter and saffron oil, with a chocolate, pistachio and cardamom dessert.
Details: £80 for two, with an extra £18 if you want the cocktails. Order here.
Six by Nico’s known for its elaborate restaurant menus, riffing off a different theme every month — a grown-up twist on childhood snacks, maybe, or the British seaside, or New York classics. Their delivery meal kits are similarly themed, with February’s focusing on the Hebrides — includes four courses for two people, and a bottle of wine — and a specific Valentine’s menu also available. It might involve a bit more attention than just a heat-and-eat (we managed to create a mountain of washing up, prepping our November meal kit) but the instructions are detailed and the end result’s fairly great.
Details: £80 for two people for the Valentine’s menu, or £60 for two people for the Hebrides menu. Order here from Home-X.
As a restaurant Pidgin’s very lovely, punching way above its bonsai size. Their three course delivery meals look equally great, with the added bonus that you can order for one person — something not nearly enough restaurants are offering so far. Menus change regularly, and at time of writing the one spanning 14 February was tbc, but recent delivery meal kits have featured game sausage rolls with sour cherry mustard, a confit duck and lychee yellow curry, and a cherry bakewell with whipped creme fraiche.
Details: Price varies when ordering for delivery, £25 per person when ordering directly from Pidgin for collection — order here from Dishpatch for delivery across the UK, or here for collection from their Hackney restaurant.
Farang are doing a range of dishes for hot takeaway or local delivery, so you could build your own feast if you’re dining solo, or with an odd number of people. But if you’re in multiples of two, it’s hard to do better than their feasting menu — this month including crunchy prawn ‘miang’ bites, coconut braised beef cheek curry, and turmeric and roasted garlic butter roti breads. Be warned, if they call something ‘spicy’ they really mean it: the Farang menu’s a series of enormous flavours, lovely at all times of year but so, so good in the winter.
Details: The Feasting Menu is £55 for two people — includes two small plates, one large plate, one curry, one salad, one side, one rice — or £65 with dessert. Local delivery only, or collection. (They’re also available here on Dishpatch for delivery across the UK, but currently sold out for February.)
A three-course menu from these masters of pastries and pasta: dishes include lamb breast with lentil ragú, tortellini in brodo, and a rhubarb dessert. Highly recommend also throwing in several misc. pastries from the bakery section while you’re ordering (the marmite, cheese and spring onion swirl should be top priority, but they also do a ridiculously good pain au chocolat) if you want to make your morning after equally spectacular.
Details: £70 for two, available on 13 and 14 February only. Order here for local delivery or collection from their shop. Use code DELIVERYDISCOUNT for £5 off.
Their Valentine’s set menu reads like a greatest hits album for this NY-inspired bar-grill from Robin Gill, with their specialities all featuring — incredible carbs (amazing sourdough, truffled mac and cheese, crispy beef fat potatoes), home-cured charcuterie, Dexter steak. They’re also offering a lighter but boozier brunch menu, with frittata, snacks, and a bottle of champagne.
Details: £90 for two people for the dinner menu, £80 for two people for the brunch menu, local delivery or collection from 12-14 February — order here from Big Night.
Any of our favourite DIY burger kits for delivery would be a great bet for a Feb-One-Four indulgent blow-out: luxed-up with a fancy bottle of wine and some candlelight, or curled up on the sofa in pyjamas — burgers are versatile, relatively idiotproof to assemble, perfect for almost any time of day… And Honest Burgers are particularly great, with easy instructions, delivery across the UK, an excellent vegan option and, this month, the February Fondue Burger special. A collab with Mons cheesemongers, it comes with patties, buns, pancetta, five cheese mix, garlic, bit of white wine for cooking, and garnishes.
Details: £25 for two people, and £6 for delivery — order here, available for February.
The always great Four Legs are doing a some-prep-required set menu including snacks, potted crab, deep fried oysters, tomato esmesi and lamb, lobster and pollack pie, and a chocolate and butterscotch something. Not a huge amount of details but we’ve had some big, everything-on-the-menu group dinners at the Compton Arms residency, never had a dish that wasn’t incredible. No photos to hand of their V-Day menu so please just admire a photo of some other lamb, some other time.
Details: £99 for two people, delivery across some north and east London postcodes, or collection between 12-2 pm from the Compton Arms, Islington — order here.
Okay, this one looks like a lot of work. A three course menu arrives with a huge number of separately packaged ingredients, a stack of recipe-plating cards, and some intimidating ‘here’s what you’re aiming for’ photos. But the genius of One Fine Dine is that it’s surprisingly simple and very quick, the hard work genuinely done in advance. Our very elaborate two person meal (and we’ve chosen two entirely different sets of options through the three course set menu, so that’s six different dishes to prep and plate, eight if you count the amuse bouche) probably takes no more than ten minutes total to assemble into something (looks down modestly) fairly damn impressive. Low effort, high swagger.
Everything it’s delivered in is recyclable or compostable, instructions are clear and easy — and everything apart from one of our desserts can be heated by microwave.
It’s the priciest menu on this list by a mile, but it’s also the closest you’ll get to [select as required] courting your loved one/dazzling your bubble/taking self-love to the next level in truly elaborate, blobs of foam and swirls of jus, Michelin-star-dining-on-a-stately-home-getaway style.
Details: £195 for two people, including amuse bouche, three courses, bottle of wine, printed menu and petit fours — order here, available for February.
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