Picture, Marylebone

Picture, Great Portland Street
Man I LOVE this place

The Vibe

It’s impossible to describe the object of your affection and do it justice. For lovers, “handsome” seems too generic, “fit” too base. And with restaurants, Michelin rating aside, you’re usually lumped with extraneous phrases likes “phenomenal” or “really something else“.

Well, Picture restaurant, a relative newcomer on the Great Portland Street scene, recently stole my heart and it’s hard to say why. Certainly it ticks a few of the obvious boxes for “scene” restaurants – a young hip trio at the helm, innovative small plates, a cocktail list with playful names, a clean and good-looking design scheme and seasonal British ingredients. With its option of either a high dining bar overlooking the drinks station or low and little tables in the back, it also has a little of what I love about failsafe date joints like Barrafina, Bocca di Lupo and Riding House Cafe. There’s the option to sit alongside your date and use the cocktail preparation as a reassuring prop or alternatively sit interview style in the back and enjoy a more locked-in and simmering discourse.

Picture also sits comfortably in the category of androgynous restaurant, my favourite kind for stress-free dating. Think stark plaster walls, brown paper menus and basic furniture prettied up by great lighting, charming staff, champagne cocktails with flowers, and teeny weeny lamb bites. If Picture was a person it would be Agyness Dean in a dress.

The Order

“Pretty as a Picture” is a perfect cocktail to kick off the meal, Lenoble Brut champagne with elderflower and St German Liqueur. The wine selection has already been praised by those in the know so order by the glass to match your small plates. One or two will do. Food is split up into meat, fish and vegetable options. Order one of each and ask them to recommend a fourth. Highlights are the Lebanese fried chicken with bulger wheat, and some fantastic ravioli with ricotta and greens. Pad it out with aioli fries and share an unbelievable panna cotta at the end. You may leave feeling like you could have taken on more, but the ability to still move and breath makes this perfect date night territory.

The Game

This is for central London afficionados who have dated at all the Soho bests (Polpo, Spuntino, and aforementioned Barrafina) and are now being forced to the periphery to try new spots.  You both work in media, but shun the media crowd. You met at a ‘tweet up’ or Social Media Week last month and now want an excuse to hang. But despite your networking charm, you’re a somewhat shy dater. You don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard and are relying on this restaurant choice to help restore any cool credentials your initial chat eroded.

So, casually suggest a Tuesday or Wednesday post work coffee, masquerading under the guise of an ‘idea swap’, and suggest checking out the bar at Picture. Coffee is to be quickly dismissed for wine. After the first glass, gauge the situation. What you need to do to propel this forward is to trick them into dinner. Enquire about a table in the restaurant when your date in in the loo. Upon their return assertively tell them that the plan is to eat and then guide them to table. Order more wine quickly and try to transform this casual occasion into an intimate affair. When you’re done with the food, suggest a nightcap at moody basement bar The Lucky Pig and do your worst.

The Faults

I honestly don’t know.

Sex Factor

5. If it doesn’t happen this time, with this person, you’ll be booking it next week for the one you really want to get nasty with.

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