The Cavendish, Marylebone
Approaching The Cavendish on a dark evening, one feels a little like they’ve walked into a Richard Curtis movie. The place is draped with lights, groups of friends sit chatting cosily, and it all colludes to make your heart feel warmed and your soul nostalgic. What initially feels like a gastro pub blossoms into something out of the ordinary when you make your way upstairs and enter an unexpectedly sophisticated dining room with exquisite food, candlelight and beautiful staff.
Head Chef here is ex-El Bulli (drop this into conversation and you’ll sound like a real foodie – mention that you saw the exhibition at Somerset House and you’re guaranteed a kiss) so the food is on a par with some of the City’s most fancy restaurants. Push the boat out and start with oysters, if only to set your intentions for the night. The Secreto (Iberian pork shoulder) is done brilliantly, and the Vongole Linguine is cooked table-side. Share a bottle of one of their Tuscan reds, and hit the bar downstairs for a nightcap.
Aforementioned lights make a great impression so approach the venue together. It’s tucked prettily away on an unsuspecting Marylebone street so wander over from Bond Street or arrange to meet near Selfridges. Call ahead and book a spot to pre-drink, waiting a while before you pull out the big gun and surprise your date with what lies above (you get little sense of the restaurants from the bar area downstairs). Chat casually with the staff, they’re discreet and knowledgeable so ask for recommendations to tease subtly away from overt cross table flirtation – then get straight back to it.
It’s hard to top this fairy tale.