Great dates come in all shapes and sizes. So when it comes to finding the best date spots in London, the list seems to grow faster than we can hit it. Sometimes it’s best to look at options by category and look for a particular mood first. So how about brunch? The beauty of brunch is that while it can be upscale or casual, it’s still a proper meal – and if you put a bit of effort into choosing the best brunch for a first or second date, the experience can be as impressive as any topnotch dinner in the best restaurants. What I like about brunch in particular for first dates is that it can be a palatably short event if it’s just going so-so, but early enough in the day to extend if it’s been a fabulous date so far!
Dean Street Townhouse – Soho
Brought to you by the exclusive members-only Soho House group, the Dean Street Townhouse is open to all and serving up lush traditional brunch at a shockingly affordable price. It’s almost like they don’t know they’re in the heart of buzzing Soho! This smart Georgian salon-style dining room is sumptuous but casual enough to enjoy an animated atmosphere. It’s popular with locals for afterwork drinks, but also attracts overnight visitors looking for country house comforts and charm in the heart of a world class city. If your date is going well and per chance the dining room is not very busy, they probably won’t mind if you stay longer to chat by the open fire. You can then follow with late afternoon exploring of the latest trends, independent designers and great people watching Soho has to offer.
The Duck and Waffle – City
If you’re looking to impress your date with more than decadent food and innovative drinks, the view from The Duck & Waffle is an absolute show-stopper. A two-minute walk from Liverpool Station and on the 40th floor of the Salesforce Tower, the floor-to-ceiling sky-high restaurant has a direct view onto the world famous Gherkin. The lift ride up is exhilarating if not a bit scary – sure to set an exciting tone to your date. Once you’ve caught your breath, you and your date can relax, take in the fantastic views of London, and share a mix of savoury and sweet small plates. Be sure to try their namesake!
Coal Office – King’s Cross
If you’re looking for a juxtaposition to mirror your dating life, Coal Office is the place. An eclectic mix of rustic and natural materials and hard industrial design, the stunning restaurant is the product of design mastermind, Tom Dixon. The menu is a journey with similar harmony and contradiction through, amazing flavours bringing it all together for a memorable experience. If you and your date are in the mood for a culinary adventure, ordering a bunch of small plates to share will make for great conversation as jump from one to the other, trying to identify ingredients so expertly married. The Coal Drop Yard is a lovely place for a wander, especially in summer, with great indie shops and direct access to Regent’s Canal. If you’re lucky you sit with coffee and watch boats pass through the St Pancras lock.
Hide – Mayfair
Hide is the most decadent and luxurious brunch spot on our list. Set over three elegant floors each offering a different atmosphere and the prices go up along with them. Hide is a culinary tasting experience with brunch options ranging from traditional fare to an exquisite 8-course tasting extravaganza – all paired with an unparalleled wine list. This is the perfect date spot before a spot of luxury shopping or gallery hopping in Mayfair.
The Hoxton – Southwark
The Hoxton comes in with a bit of a two-for-one spot on my list: Seabird and Albie. Both offer a sophisticated menu in what is arguably the best boutique hotel in London. If you’re in the mood for sweeping views of the Thames and the London skyline – and who isn’t – Seabird is the gem in the sky where you can impress your date with New York style brunching. If you and your date are already getting closer and a lounge bistro where you can sink into each other shoulder between courses and share some secrets sounds perfect, then the more casual Albie is there for it. No matter which you choose, Albie and Seabird are great options before or after a visit at the Tate Modern or Borough Market.
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