THE concept of Valentine’s Day as a time for lovers to express their romantic desires has, contrary to the cries of the cynics, been around since at least the Middle Ages.
The tradition of sending flowers and hand-written letters has been around ever since, albeit with the intervention of the ubiquitous greetings card.
These days it can be something of a minefield, strewn with fully-booked restaurants and unreciprocated gifts – but opting out still isn’t an option for the majority of people in a relationship. However, if you keep things simple, you can emerge triumphant: a bottle of champagne, a box of chocolates and a decent meal is all it takes.
But choose wisely – in this age of online shopping, checking up on how much your other half has shelled out to give you the ultimate romantic evening has never been easier.
Our guide outlines the finest options, no matter what your price range, from rare champagne to Michelin-starred restaurants. And if even these don’t work, you can take solace in the fact that the Eastern Orthodox church celebrates St Valentine’s day on 6 July, meaning you can have a second crack at it in the summer.
La Maison du Chocolat Valentine’s coffret
Jaime Hayon Porcelain Box
Vintage Rosé 2000
1. Tom Aikens restaurant
The Valentine’s Day package offers luxury transportation to and from the restaurant, a six-course tasting menu, a custom-bouquet of flowers and hand-crafted chocolates.
£145 per person; 020 7584 2003
2. Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
Renowned head chef Jocelyn Herland has created a special four-course menu, which features dishes like marinated sea scallops and limousine farmhouse veal lion.
£155 per person; 020 7629 8866
3. Aqua London
Start the night sipping cocktails while taking in the views on the roof terrace before heading to the restaurant to enjoy the special five-course Japanese menu on offer.
£95 per person; 020 7478 0540
4. Saka No Hana
The fine dining restaurant located in the heart of Mayfair is offering a six-course menu featuring hassun, wagu and sashimi.
£65 per person; 020 7925 8988
5. Galvin at Windows
Tuck into a six-course menu featuring dishes like lobster cocktail and pressed terrine of foie gras at the Michelin-starred restaurant.
£140 per person ; 020 7208 4021
6. Corrigan’s Mayfair
Enjoy a bespoke three or four-course menu at Richard Corrigan’s Mayfair restaurant. The venue has been designed to resemble a cosy hunting lodge, creating an intimate ambiance to enjoy the decadent menu.
£85 for three courses and £150 for five; 020 7 499 9943