Eight Reasonable London Christmas Dates for Foodies
Writer and London blogger Sarah Moody recommends her most indulgent London dates for the festive season.
The Bottomless Brunch
Ignore the hectic Christmas shoppers and enjoy a relaxing weekend brunch at Bad Egg, near Moorgate. You and your date can watch the world go by, chat, and find everything increasingly hilarious as you enjoy unlimited refills of prosecco or bloody mary. You also get to choose three items each from a brunch menu that includes pulled pork, tacos, cheeseburger hash, and pancakes with syrup and bacon. For a lighter bite there’s avocado on toast or granola. You’ll have a fun foodie date, with plenty of time to go on elsewhere in the afternoon. As luck would have it, this part of London is beautiful and peaceful at weekends.
- Cost – £30 per person for 3 dishes and unlimited booze refills
The Ski Lodge
Come in from the cold shake off the snow, and cuddle up by the fire. Did I forget to say take your skis off too? That’s because you’re in a ski lodge. Just kidding! It’s the Sky Bar at the Courthouse Hotel, all decked out like a wooden chalet, complete with retro ski holiday posters. This rooftop wonder has immense views of the west end of London, and is a stone’s throw from Carnaby Street, making it perfect for a romantic day of Christmas shopping and checking out the Oxford Street lights. Come here for the themed cocktails (love the mint hot-chocolate made with peppermint schnapps) and stay for the views. This is one heck of a cosy winter date location and you’ll start to think you’re actually in Aspen.
- Cost – cocktails £9.50 – £12.50, small bites and sliders start at £6.95
The Crazy Golf Cocktail Date
Who says festive beverages and a game of balance and visual perspective don’t mix? The creators of Birdies pop-up golf course, that’s who! For December only they’ve turned the underground tunnels of Waterloo Station into a nine-hole crazy gold course, complete with plenty of challenges, and even a fake lawn. Don’t worry, this is still very much a food and drink date. The Caddy Shack cocktail bar will be serving up fun drinks with names like the Tiger’s Wood (an old fashioned) and the Golfbuster (vodka, spiced fruit, and a Stay Puft marshmallow garnish). You’ll be spoilt for choice thanks to fancy food pop ups from Hix and Hawksmoor’s head chef, plus there’ll be DJs playing festive tunes. Golf is the new ski-ing; it’s better for date-chatting, it’s less dangerous, and you and your cocktails will be protected from the December London weather.
- Cost – Entrance £3 per person, a round of golf is £9 per person; each session is timed to avoid slow play. Booking is advised, though walk-ins may be accommodated – sign up on arrival. Various charges for food and drink. Opening times: Tues-Thurs 4.30pm-11.30pm, Fri 4.30pm-11.30pm, Sat 1.30pm-12.30am, Sun 1.30pm-10.30pm.
The Japanese Christmas Party
Christmas food dates need not be all about roasted goose and steamed sprouts. Why not grab some sushi and sake with your date, and still have a perfectly festive, tinsel-filled time? Shoreditch pop-up party specialists Night Tales are launching Tokyo Nights from the 3rd-19th of December. Sign up for an exclusive taste of Japan supper club, or simply order from a range of street-food vendors that will be serving up traditional Japanese dishes, alongside the likes of Patty & Bun whose American diner dishes will have an Asian twist. There are four bespoke bars serving everything from authentic Japanese beer and rice wine, to seven-spice mulled cider and some exotic cocktails. There’s a dance floor playing Japanese house music until late, and lots of cosy areas to sit and chat with your date. For those in full Christmas party mode, on Fridays and Saturdays there’s an after-party until 4am.
- Cost – Entrance is free on a first-come first-serve basis, queue-jump tickets can be ordered online. Various charges for food and drink. Supper clubs need to be booked in advance – a five course Japanese tasting menu is £35 per person.
Christmas Afternoon Tea
Things are about to get fancy. When I say fancy, I don’t mean Ritz-fancy, although they serve a Christmas afternoon tea as well of course. Why not take the stuffy edge off this usually formal British tradition and go to Reform Social & Grill in the Mandeville Hotel? You and your date can relax over mulled wine, your choice of tea, assorted sandwiches, and a selection of festive treats that includes brandy mince pies, chocolate yule log, Dundee Christmas cake, and Santa’s shortbread. There’s a great vibe in the Reform Social & Grill. The design is based on the gentlemen’s members clubs of yesteryear, but without the airs and graces. You’ll just enjoy a fun, Christmassy date – but be on your best behaviour when it comes to sharing the cakes.
- Cost – £26.50 per person
The Spiced Rum Pop-Up
Why dream of a white Christmas when black is so much more chic? Kraken Black Spiced Rum have opened a pop-up Christmas tree shop selling real black pine trees (apparently, they’re a thing) along with black mistletoe, black wreaths, poinsettia, and Christmas cards (presumably also black). To lighten the dark festive mood there’s also a handy rum bar inside – the Think Ink Pines – that will be serving up a range of cocktails using Kraken Black Spiced Rum. Drinks include the Squid Bite, which mixes the rum with mulled wine and cinnamon, the Black Espresso, a heady mix of coffee, rum and white chocolate shavings, and the Old Kracken with aromatic liqueur, bitters, and an orange twist. Venture into hipster Hackney for what sounds like a very unique pop-up experience, and enjoy sipping rum cocktails from kilner jars with your date as you browse the darker side of Christmas decorating.
- Cost – Open for one week only from 9th-13th Dec. Entrance is free, cocktails are £6 each. Open Wednesday and Thursday 12.30pm-11pm, Friday 12.30pm-12am, Saturday 10am-12am, Sunday 9am-4pm
- Address – 186 Hackney Road E2 7QL
The Christmas Dinner Singalong
The Piano Works is a great place for a date all year round; what’s not to like – you enjoy cocktails and request songs for the live pianist and singer to perform. At certain points in the evening there may or not be mass singalongs, it depends on the crowd – but when the bar is in full singing swing you’ll feel like all nights in the pub should end this way. During the Christmas period The Piano Works has upped its game with a three course festive feast and some delicious drinks deals. Find out your date’s all-time favourite songs and have them performed whilst you get better acquainted over roast turkey with all the trimmings, Christmas pudding, and lots of prosecco.
- Cost – Entrance is free Mon-Thurs all evening, Friday free before 9pm – £10 after, Sat free before 8pm – £10 after. 3 courses are £35 Wed-Sat or £25 Sun-Tue, happy hour is 5pm-7pm with £5 cocktails and £10 bottles of wine. The Christmas dinner can be ordered with half a bottle of wine and a glass of prosecco for £15 per person.
The Traditional German Christmas Market
Humongous beers, ginormous sausages, mahoosive heart-shaped gingerbread – a date at the Traditional German Christmas Market will make you both feel like you’ve shrunk to the size of borrowers. Handily situated within Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland from the end of November to the 4th January, you’ll be surrounded not only by delicious German Christmas foods, but also by the wider magic of the annual Wonderland. Walk around rows of beautifully decorated wooden chalets and sample the delights of Bavarian beer, mulled wine, hog roast, and cinnamon crepes. As the German Market is open from 10am-10pm seven days a week you could even make this a lunch date, though if you did, you’d miss out on the candlelit carol singers that come out after dark. I don’t think pretend Christmas Germany dates can get any more festive than this.
- Cost – entrance to Winter Wonderland is free, various prices for food and drink
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