| Karin Bylund

5 Experiences in London to Inspire You for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day. It’s safe to say there are no two more divisive words. For some, 14th February conjures up images of heart shaped balloons, red roses and a candlelit dinner for two. For others, it’s a day to be ignored as much as possible and endured with the least possible emotional anguish.


A Private Dinner for Two, 12 Hay Hill
Each year, London comes to life with events and offers to help couples celebrate and it gets better each time. On the 12th and 13th of February, exclusive Mayfair members club 12 Hay Hill is putting on a special four course Valentines Day menu, including half a bottle of LP Brut champagne. Michelin starred chef Shaun Rankin and Head Chef Nuno Goncalves will combine their extensive experience to produce a menu that includes lobster with cauliflower gratin and black truffle as well as a braised shoulder of lamb with shallots and lamb jus for just £75 per head.

12 Hay Hill is predominantly a business club but they also pride themselves on the quality of the food and drink in their restaurant and the level of service members receive at the club. The Sybarite recently caught up with 12 Hay Hill Chief Executive, Simon Robinson, who said of the unique atmosphere at the club: “my whole career has been about setting high standards; I have recruited a fabulous team and insist on a very high standard of dining from our accomplished resident chef, Sean Rankin.”

Most importantly, you can enjoy this one off menu at 12 Hay Hill and still have Valentine’s Sunday free to nurse a hangover and indulge in the best part of coupledom; a guilt-free night in complete with bowl of pasta and a box set.


Love is in the Air, Sky Garden
If an exclusive menu at 12 Hay Hill sounds great but this year you want to take your Valentine’s Day to whole new heights, Sky Garden is offering the ultimate Valentine’s evening with their ‘ultra-luxurious’ package. Begin your evening with a helicopter tour of London before being escorted to 20 Fenchurch Street’s 37th floor restaurant. For one night only, you’re invited to create your perfect restaurant from the music to the décor as foodie masters Rhubarb cater to your every request, no matter how extravagant. Sip on a glass of Dom Pérignon 2004 served to you by your very own butler and enjoy a 5-course meal paired with bespoke fine wines as you toast to the special occasion. For the food, think butter poached lobster, grilled turbot with oyster cream and a decadent chocolate tart glazed with honeycomb and gold leaf. A spectacular evening from £8,000.


Valentine’s Gin Safari, Mr Fogg’s Tavern
Although traditionally a celebration romantic relationships, Valentine’s Day should also be a day to rejoice in friendships. Likely to only be taking bookings for two, it’s best to stay away from restaurants on V-Day itself, so head to Mr Foggs on St Martins Lane for a one-night only gin tasting experience. The Valentine’s Day Gin Safari will feature London’s largest gin selection: 269 of the rarest and most unique gins from around the globe. Mr Fogg’s world-class barmen will run a gin tasting tuition, with insights into the origins of the most rare gins on earth, as well as an array of botanicals and tonics. Sample six of the finest gins and enjoy two superb gin and tonics, made with your favourite varieties.

It being Valentines Day, couples are of course also welcome to join the Gin Safari and stay on afterwards to enjoy a bespoke Valentine’s Day cocktail menu and nibbles served in the wonderfully theatrical environment of the Salon. Mr Fogg’s Tavern, located in Covent Garden, is the eighth project from Charlie Gilkes’ and Duncan Stirling’s Inception Group who also own and operate Chelsea bar Barts, ‘80s themed nightclub, Maggie’s, the acclaimed Bunga Bunga amongst many other top London venues.


A Passionate Picnic, Cahoots of Soho
For even more wholesome Valentine’s Day fun, Cahoots of Soho is throwing a special Squiffy Picnic. Greeted with a tasty tipple of a Sipsmith Summer Cocktail on arrival, guests will be led down a staircase to an aptly decorated tube station where a vintage dressing-up box filled to the brim with sun hats, roses, candles and cosy blankets awaits. Food and drink will be served in hampers, paying homage to post-war Britain in true Cahoots style.

Choose from the ‘The Spivs & Scoundrels’, ‘Starlets & Sirens’ and ‘Aristocrats & Fat Cats’, each packed with your drink of choice: ales and stouts, Sipsmith Gin and tonic, sloe gin and various wines. For those who want to celebrate the amorous holiday with a little bubbly, the Aristocrats & Fat Cats hamper includes a bottle of English sparkling wine and a hipflask of Cognac or Sipsmith Damson Vodka to cap it off. Throughout the afternoon, a live band will play jazz, swing and lindy hop. There are many reasons to drop in on the Squiffy Picnic – not least to find out what exactly lindy hop is!

Paul Winch-Furness / Photographer

Tea for Two Under a Sky of Butterflies, The Ivy Kensington
For true Valentine’s lovers, one day simply isn’t enough. In the lead up to the big day, The Ivy Kensington Brasserie has paired up with luxury champagne house Perrier-Jouet to create ‘Butterfly Kisses’ – the ultimate Valentines hotspot for an indulgent afternoon tea. The Ivy team has been busy hand-making over 700 origami green, white and golden butterflies that will be suspended from the restaurant’s ceiling, creating a beautiful canopy under which the tea is served. Guests will receive their very own butterfly at the end of their meal, which will unfold to reveal a secret Valentine’s love note and for lucky winners a bespoke Valentine’s Day prize. Available from Friday, 8 January – Monday 15th February at The Ivy Kensington Brasserie.

Whether you love it or loath it, Valentine’s Day should be a day of celebration, either for you and your loved one, your oldest friend or simply an excuse to treat yourself. For more information on any of the Valentine’s Day specials, see contact details below.

– 12 Hay Hill Valentine’s Day menu: 0207 952 6988

– Love is in the Air at Sky Garden: 0333 772 0020 (or click here)

– Mr Foggs Gin Safari: 0207 581 3992 (or click here)

– Cahoot’s Squiffy Picnic: 020 7352 6200

– The Ivy Kensington Brasserie ‘Butterfly Kisses’: 020 3301 0500

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