Port & Portobello @ The Red Lemon, Ladbroke Grove
The Red Lemon is located at the end of All Saints Road, which just so happens to be the perfect pit stop after a hard day’s Christmas shopping. This warm and inviting local boozer is cranking the festive cheer up to ninety with its winter pop up, Port & Portobello, complete with roaring fire decorated with expectant bright red stockings, the bar’s illuminated with fairy lights and there’s plenty of food and drink being served right up until Christmas Eve. The vibe is cosy to the max; a real home from home, just the ticket for whiling away dark winter afternoons in London.
You’ve just come in from the cold, you need warming up. Order a delicious glass of Pinot Noir or a Portobello ale from the bar, which will sort you right out. When you can feel your fingers again, ask for the sharing platter which consists of cutesy slices of Welsh rarebit, Stilton and onion marmalade on toast, ham and cheese croquettes, pigs in blankets and sweet mince pie parcels; perfect finger food. If you’d like to eke the date out a little longer then suggest moving on to a main and offer to share the excellent Reindeer Burger (venison, bacon, deep fried Camembert and cranberry sauce).
Daters of London, this is a gift and Port & Portobello has it all wrapped up for you in a big red bow. Meet your date on Portobello Road for a Bloody Mary at the Electric Diner to start the day with an injection of warmth. Suggest a bit of Christmas shopping, don your bobble hat and mittens and head outdoors in the direction of the area’s many shops and boutiques. As the cold starts to nip at your nose and toes, navigate the walking direction towards All Saints Road and set the scene for the need to stop for a well-deserved drink at the top of the street. Enter the Red Lemon and make confidently for the unassuming staircase, leading your date by the hand into the subtly lit private dining grotto bar with its very own open fire. Take a load off, kick back with a sherry by the fire and really engage with your date. Top tip: pack a little travel board game to whip out if the moment calls for it. Compare Christmas jumpers, laugh (at each other) and enjoy the après ski atmosphere. Save the best bit ‘til last though – a little tray of delicious marshmallows are provided free of charge to toast over the open fire. Romance here, as you can see, is as easy as mince pie. Call it early and as you leave and your date is just putting their hat on, surprise them gently and go in for a long, deep kiss. Invite back for a coffee, lock mittens and call an Uber.
Only the Grinch himself wouldn’t enjoy a date here. Tis the season to be jolly and Port & Portobello does a great line in jollity so get the drinks in!
3. Get cosy by the fire, feel the flush in your cheeks after a glass or two of port and canoodle like it’s going out of style.