Comedor Grill / Pisco Embassy, Islington
It’s January and in keeping with sale season this restaurant/bar hybrid is offering two potential date spots for the price of one. On the one hand, this is a laid back neighbourhood joint with all the trappings of a Hacienda restaurant for Brits – rustic wooden chairs, ochre colour scheme, but thankfully no sombreros. Comedor Grill / Pisco Embassy is a big-hearted, jeans and heels sort-of-a-place, which sadly didn’t quite transport us to the South American sunshine. Then, at the strike of midnight on a Friday and Saturday night, it’s a whole different story. Like Cinders at the ball (sort of), the tables are cleared into the kitchen and the whole place transforms into a raging Pisco bar full of tipsy potentials on the pull. Presumably the happily dining families snapping selfies are tucked up in bed by then.
Let’s say you’re going for a relaxed second date dinner. Steak is the name of the game here. Less adventurous daters can opt for a fillet, but the real draw is Brazilian cuts like Picana (the most popular cut in Brazil and a hulking chunk of tender meat). All the steaks come soused in Chimichurri, which is fine by us. Empanadas, ceviche and South American street food would work for daters who don’t want their paramour to see them chowing down on 300g of prime beef, although whoever they are, we don’t want to know them, let alone date them. The wine list is boring. Drink champagne or hold out for the cocktails.
Pick one or the other. Bring someone relaxed who you want to get to know better over a lingering dinner and head on to 69 Colebrooke Row for a nightcap, or eat elsewhere in the area (Smokehouse anyone?) and stumble here past midnight to seal the deal with a Chicha Sour, or ten. There are rumours of dancing into the early hours – it’s open til 5am -but for God’s sake pin down your lover by 3am. Nobody wants the last person on the dance floor.
My date thought it had the vibe of a cruise ship Mexican buffet, but he might have been referring to me. Just sayin’.