We know all about private members’ clubs but the private business members’ club is a new and rather sexy fixture on the London scene. Enter High Street Kensington’s luxurious Pavilion. Both virtual office space and social gastronomic hub, it’s a welcome addition to a road that has up until now offered daters the all too familiar likes of Aubaine, Wagamama and Carluccio’s.
A date at the Pavilion is a high stool affair, the large pewter bar offering a perch for dates that are post work and allegedly spontaneous – you want this to look like it just happened. With a mixture of business people, shoppers, posh girlfriends and dates, the dining room has a wind down vibe to it in the evening – loosen the tie, drink one too many glasses of fizz, over order on the charcuterie and over share with a colleague. Your best bet on a date is to suggest a crisp glass of champagne at the bar and upgrade it to full on steaks and martinis before they know what’s hit them.
Oh it’s a meat feast – and never has a charcuterie board been so beloved by its servers. With British-sourced fare from Borough Market’s Cannon & Cannon, you’ll start with some venison chorizo and blood sausage, then move onto a fillet steak and some punchy pickled onions. This is what you call the purist’s date. Cold champagne, exceptional meat, vodka martinis and several rogue olives. Old school.
Entrapment is such a nasty word but if you want to ease a colleague or close friend into a date, this is the place to do it. Whether you’re two sub-editors from The Mail trying to progress your photocopier flirtations, or two local friends who’ve been shopping on Ken High for their hiking trek and are now quite ‘parched’, this is the place to change the game.
Ideally, it’ll still be light when you walk in, so the innocent bevy at the bar won’t arouse suspicions. But as it starts to get dark, speed up the ordering and suggest some food to soak up what is now a belly full of booze. Stay later than you should (it’s a Thursday) and playfully nudge them off their high chairs as the night goes on. Skip dessert and go for one more martini, then stumble out and push them into a black cab. Kiss them just before they fall in and give the roof of the car the macho pat that informs the driver to get on the road.
For the ‘meatless Monday’/green juice brigade, you’re better off having dinner in Wholefoods.
4. Low on carbs, hard on liquor, this was never really a catch up.