Murakami, Covent Garden

1 month ago

The Vibe
A stylish designed modern Japanese restaurant in Covent Garden, Murakami Restaurant brings a touch of the East to the theatre district. Enter through the right door and be greeted by a charming hostess who will take you to your table. If you find yourself seated in the brightly lit window space, politely ask for the more romantic option in the lowly lit back. The restaurant is normally calm enough for this not to be any hassle and will help make for a more atmospheric date.

The Order
An assortment of delicious delicacies are on offer, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a Japanese-style tapas in the heart of Covent Garden’s theatre district. Accept the water as soon as you sit down and sip as you browse the expansive menu. For those with an indecisive nature, start with the rib eye dripped in sweet soya and add the black cod on saikyo lemongrass miso, continuing from there. Accompany your selections with a Japanese cocktail or two. The wham inspired ‘wake me up before you tok-y-o’ is a delicious Espresso Martini that is sure to add a perkiness to your game. If you are abstaining from alcohol try a sweet sake and disguise your choice as a desire for a more authentic dining experience.

The Game
Take a window seat and watch theatre goers pass down St Martins Lane, or for a cosier night ask to head towards the back with darker lighting and better spaced seating. The menu offers an exciting starting point for discussion, particularly for well-travelled foodies or Japanese enthusiasts. From therein, take advantage of any stories you have gathered from your trips to the East or reveal a quirky love for haiku poetry.

The Faults
Leaving the restaurant onto the tourist packed St Martins Lane can cause any romantic haze to soften. To avoid, order a couple more drinks and wait for the visitors to head home.

Bone Daddies, Soho

4 years ago

The Vibe

Ramen noodle joints are popping up everywhere, with Soho already bringing us the wonderful Tonkotsu and Ittenbari. How they differ from old school joints like The New Culture Revolution and Wagamama is that they have stepped up the gastronomic game with a focus on quality of the ramen soup itself (no longer just a plain on miso). They fill their broths with all manner of boiled up bones and fat deposits, giving us a ramen that is rich, flavoursome and full of bits- nothing like the meagre offerings we’ve been used to.  Unlike the others, Bone Daddies manages to satisfy two vital criteria: firstly, our desire for a restaurant that offers just one dish but does it well, and secondly, our need for edgy interiors and paraphernalia that, just for a demi-second, will have us thinking ‘oh, this is a bit different’. With its nod to Rock ‘n’ Roll, a Soho location and high communal tables, this is the ramen joint for people who dated at Bubbledogs last week and Meat Liquor the week before.

The Order

The only thing you need to decide is chicken or pork, spicy or salty. Starters are excellently executed but the ramens are rich so just share one small plate- the soft shell crab was divine. Whilst we all like to slurp down our soup till the last drop, don’t feel any pressure to drink it all down as you’ll end up with too great a volume of liquid and noodle in your belly, not sexy.  The Tantamen with sesame, chilli, pork mince and bok choi is the choice for spice lovers, but the Tonkotsu is where their famous 20-hour pork broth can be sampled. Drinks-wise, the less liquid the better, so a few thimbles of sake (never a beer).

The Game

This is a warm-up of sorts and you’ll feel cosy, comfortable and well conversed by the end of the meal.  However, since it’s a shortish date (1-1.5 hours) there are now two options. You could call it a night and walk with linked arms through Soho, choosing the furthest possible tube and stopping on the way to face your date for an affectionate (rather than erotic) kiss. Or you could prolong the evening and move into a cavernous joint for nightcaps and full on snogs- Marks’s Bar or Milk and Honey (book in advance) will do nicely. Don’t make a play for sex, you are meant to be soothing your weary soul with noodles, cuddles and a final bourbon on the rocks.

The Faults

Some critics have pointed out that the ramen soup could be hotter but it’s arguably better to get the tastes when not battling with piping temperatures. It’s not the place for the whole date and, whilst you can play footsie across the high tables, you’re likely to be sharing a table so need to behave.

Sex Factor

1. Take a night off, reconnect and get your winter freak on (more food, less sex, amorous intentions).

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