So you have plucked up the courage to ask someone on a date; or you might have accepted one. As hard as that might have been, actually going on the date can take you to a whole new level of nerves! Worried about having nothing to say, or struggling to keep a conversation going? Help is at hand from The Artful Diner; who has put together five places to go to ensure the patter flows as easily as the wine.
Dinner and a one-hour show:
When: 20-26 April
Here’s something original that gives you time to chat and something to talk about to fill any awkward silences – perfect for first dates. A Complete (warts and all) History Of London is a very funny stage show with great actors showing at the Roman Amphitheatre below the Guildhall Art Gallery. It’s only an hour long, giving you plenty of time for dinner at nearby British restaurant, Paternoster Chop House. Head chef Bruce Wilson’s feasting dishes, such as Aberdeen Angus beef rib chop, are perfect for sharing. And his signature sideburns will give you another talking point should you need one. (Sorry Bruce!).
The Lab food event
When: 25-27 April
Naturally all of my dates include food, but The Lab revolves around it. And boy what an event: three nights of international chefs – including Lars Williams (from the world’s number one restaurant, Noma), Alex Atala (from D.O.M, which came fourth in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2012), Dinner by Heston Blumenthal’s Ashley Palmer-Watts, Mark Jarvis from Blueprint Café and Skylon’s new head chef Adam Gray – hosting masterclasses and tutorials. It’s £79 per head, but certain to be an unforgettable experience that you will talk about for years to come.
London Coffee festival
When: 25-28 April
Looking for a slightly less intense food experience? Then the London Coffee festival is on the same weekend. Head down on Friday evening for the Espresso Martini launch party, or compare noses and flavours at the roastery, chat with top baristas at the pop-up coffee shops and get competitive after learning the secret of making really good coffee at home. The tickets are reasonably priced and 50% of all sales goes to Project Waterfall to help deliver clean drinking water in coffee-producing countries in Africa. Head down in the afternoon and you’ll be set to explore the pubs and bars around Shoreditch afterwards.
“Phoebe: Hang in there, it’s gonna happen.
Ross: What? Okay, now how do you know that?
Phoebe: Because she’s your lobster.
Chandler: Oh, she’s goin’ somewhere.
Phoebe: Come on, you guys. It’s a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life. You know what? You can actually see old lobster couples walkin’ around their tank, you know, holding claws like…”
Phoebe from Friends “Lobster theory” – from the Friends episode – The One With The Prom Video.
Lobster and open-air cinema:
When: From 1 May
With the rooftop film club opening in Shoreditch from May, Saturday night at the movies is definitely a tradition to be revived. Their film selection will fill you with excitement and nostalgia as you argue whether Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Willow is the ultimate classic (not during the film, of course). Showings are at 9pm, so start with the Saturday special of lobster and Prosecco for £16.50 at the fun and informal Fish Market, and ask the mixologists to create you cocktails to match your film in the adjoining Old Bengal Bar.
Speed dates and slow food:
Want to find out more about your date? Then take them go karting at Tower Bridge – with its hair-raising bends, elevated flyovers and fast karts – you’ll soon discover whether they can handle your pace or have been hiding their competitive streak. Wind down with dinner afterwards at Blueprint Café’s terrace on the Thames and as the wine goes down, along with Mark Jarvis’ 28-day aged rib eye beef, steer your date in the right direction by challenging them to a rematch…