Love is in the air. Or it might just be the smell of banana bread and hand sanitizer. Either way, just because there’s a national lockdown, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still do date night. This guide is full of places that are delivering dishes worthy of a romantic night in, whether you’re living together or whether you’re championing the virtual date and need options that deliver across London. So light a candle, abandon the trackies, locate and use that thing you used to a call a hairbrush, and fuck it, put a little Barry White on. Welcome to your lockdown date night.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, especially when it comes to restaurant-quality food. And also when it comes to your partner, who’s on the other side of London. But back to the food. Light some candles and fire up Zoom, because Top Cuvée are delivering their ham hock terrine, freshly cut tagliatelle, and more all over the city.
You and your partner / bae / beloved sex friend are isolating separately and you’re about two weeks from writing them a song. Don’t let that happen. Although you can’t see each other you can still eat the same great handmade pasta, thanks to Nonna Tonda, who are delivering fresh pasta kits across London. The best part is, you can sign up for a repeat order so you always have date night covered.
A global virus may tear you apart, but pizza will not. So if you’re isolating in different houses but want to play pizza date, then order a Yard Sale from one of their five locations across north and east London. Nothing says this love is real like sharing a slice through a shared screen, especially when you order a surprise brownie for your better half too.
Macellaio sounds distinctly like he might be Romeo’s other, sexier cousin, but it’s actually an Italian beef specialist delivering from Clerkenwell, Battersea, and South Kensington. So if you’re based in central and your partner lives in south, you can still eat quality steak at the same time. We like the look of the rump served with rocket and shaved parmigiano reggiano, but there’s fillet, T-bone, and schnitzel too.
Did they always sound that way when they laugh? Did they always breathe this loudly? Dear god, did they always pronounce espresso ‘expresso’? You’re learning a lot of, err, great things about your partner right now. Time to remember life pre-lockdown with a delivery from Crouch End seafood spot and wine bar, Lyon’s. Expect dishes like a crispy softshell crab burger and chargrilled plaice with seaweed butter.
Is your heart laughing? Or is it crying? Neither of you know anymore, but you could both do with a night off from Netflix and conversations about who your favourite local fox is. This is where The Laughing Heart comes in. The late-night Hackney wine bar has transformed itself into a collection and delivery service with changing weekly meals. At the moment they’ve got a Korean beef bossam kit or a Greek lamb feast and both are made for sharing.
Well, Shakespeare never said anything about romance involving a play-by-play of their farts, but here we are. The good news is that your quarantine date night just got a whole lot upmarket - and ideally, gas anecdote free - thanks to Sake No Hana. This seriously sophisticated Japanese spot is now delivering their maki, sashimi, nigiri, and more around the West End. The Hana Menu For Two is particularly good for date night, and importantly, includes their spicy tuna maki.
Planning a big date night to say thank you for not making you sleep on the balcony yet? Earn some quarantine couple brownie points by ordering in from excellent Brixton restaurant, Naughty Piglets. Doing collection of their classics like BBQ pork belly with XO rice, confit duck leg, and Devon crab with peanut sauce, you can pick-up natural wine at the same time too. Heads up, you’ll need to book a week in advance, but it’ll be worth it.
To us, there is nothing more romantic than sitting opposite the person you love (or really like, at least) and watching them simultaneously inhale a summer roll whilst also eyeing up where their next piece of salt and chilli squid is going to fit. Do you know what we mean? If so, then ordering a Vietnamese feast from BunBunBun in Dalston is probably your kind of thing.
There are many arguments for lighting a few candles, artfully making swans out of kitchen towel, and popping to the shop to get some ingredients for pasta. But, if your other half is in the mood for sushi, then basmati rice and fish fingers just ain’t gonna cut it. Enter, Yashin Sushi. This classy Kensington sushi spot is available to order from, meaning you can triumphantly open a box of tuna rolls and salmon sashimi, and save that kitchen roll origami for another night.
All you need is love. And maybe a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, wine, and infinite patience. Provisions at least has the wine covered. And the 18-month aged comté too. This Holloway wine bar is delivering everything you need for a grown-up home date night including olives, smoked paprika crisps, charcuterie, fancy cheese, and fresh Dusty Knuckle sourdough. There’s a huge selection of wines, with plenty of affordable options too.
Roka is a glam restaurant. There’s no two ways around it. It’s shiny, it’s in Fitzrovia, and black cod features on the menu. So if you’ve unexpectedly ended up quarantining with someone who still thinks you wake up smelling of honey and mystery, then you’ll need to order in from their Charlotte Street location to keep this high-class charade going. Because ordering in tuna tataki, black cod marinated in yuzu miso, and something fizzy is definitely a huge (and completely unsustainable) move.
Date nights are exponentially improved by margaritas. That’s just science. Have a big night in together with tacos, quesadillas, and tostadas from one of our favourite spots in Notting Hill, Taqueria. You should know that they have great set menu options for two, churros, and several margaritas to choose from as well.
Turns out that you didn’t realise how much you loved the education system until now. That, and booze. Let yourselves have a night off by picking up an adult amount of small plates and wine from Rubedo in Stoke Newington. There are things like burrata, salt cod brandade, homemade cavatelli, and a chocolate and almond torte for after you put the kids to bed.
Right, having described a pigeon you saw on the way to the shop in graphic detail, you’ve officially run out of things to say to each other. Rather than taking another four hour bath, order Mr Bao instead. This cool and casual Taiwanese spot in Peckham is delivering their seriously good bao, fried chicken, and dumplings. Trust us, the shiitake mushroom bao and wasabi mayo will give you something to talk about.
Quality Wines and quality time sounds like a strapline Bill Murray should drawl, eyebrow raised, but it’s the way things are with this Farringdon wine bar. There are few better places to sit in London, share a few small plates and a bottle of natural wine, and look through the candlelight, past your loved ones eyes, to the blackboard and the words ‘lardo crostini’. You can do your best at recreating this though, with the new QW at home menu that’s available for collection or delivery.
Gloria is a loud and proud Shoreditch trattoria that is usually peak go-to date night material. They’re now offering click and collect on many of their signature dishes like their truffle pasta, extra cheesy carbonara, fresh pizzas, and XXL desserts. Hit them up here to place your order, then light a couple of candles. Job done.
On a normal weekend you’d be pitching up in Bistrotheque’s all-white room together, with matching hangovers and bloody marys, ready to get very involved in some roast chicken and chips together. Sadly that will have to wait, but in the meantime you can get this classic Hackney bistro delivered to you Friday to Sunday. There’s pinot, there’s pancakes, and all the things you’d usually share before spending a day on the sofa together.
Date night doesn’t have to be delicate and dainty. Let’s be honest, you didn’t need quarantine to get to know the ‘eating-a-bit-of-cheddar-at-4pm-in-underwear-whilst-grunting’ side of each other. So you’ll be more than comfortable having some classy comfort food from Darby’s. Think dexter beef and bone marrow pies topped with croissant pastry, or chicken liver mousse with sourdough from their bakery. You’ll need to pick it up via their hatch, but it’s a must if you’re close to Vauxhall.
The bad news is that your Spanish getaway is very much cancelled. The good news is that you won’t have to hear the Ryanair jingle, or get into a Wild West standoff in the priority queue. But you will miss the food. That’s where José Pizarro in Bermondsey comes in. The tapas bar is delivering within 5 miles of SE1, or you swing by and collect. There are boquerones, presa iberica, Spanish tortilla, and jamon. Lots of jamon.
Aioli and romance: a pretty formidable combination. Cool and casual Kensington spot Melabes are delivering their excellent Mediterranean small plates that, plot twist, are actually pretty large. We’re really into their laffa, lamb chops, and array of sauces, but the hummus is a must-order here. It’s basically a creamy chickpea pond that’s perfect for chatting over.
Namaaste Kitchen is an upmarket Indian in Camden that has a cool 90s feel. And so will your date night if you watch Pulp Fiction and order in their butter chicken and zardaloo kofte. As well as plenty of house specialities, you’ll also find things like their stupidly moreish toki chatat, big biryanis, grilled tandoori dishes, and plenty of dips worth stocking up on.
It’s a big night for the two of you. For starters, you’re both wearing underwear and something that isn’t made exclusively of fleece. And if you live within six miles of this charming wine bar in Elephant & Castle, you can keep that whole sophisticated feel going by ordering in from Diogenes The Dog. There’s charcuterie, there’s a huge selection of wines, and yes, there’s cannolo too.
This whole thing has made lots of people take a minute and reconsider what’s really important, and what’s really necessary to them. You’ve probably done the same if you’re in a relationship. And you’ve probably, and quite quickly, realised that cheese and wine is very, very important. To both of you. It’s important to Albertine too, and the Shepherd’s Bush wine bar has got you covered for comté, gruyére, and lots more. Plus bottles and bottles of wine.
Repeat after us: Sorry that I accused you of eating the last Jaffa Cake, that I in fact ate last night, here is a cute video of a sloth and I’ve ordered dinner from Hide. Household peace, sorted. For the first time ever, this Mayfair fine dining spot is delivering some of their exceptional menu headliners to your home, including their soft shell crab tempura, 50-day-aged short horn beef rib, and truffled eggs.
The two of you have probably started to refer to every spider that appears as Count Octo and asking if it would like to join your game of Uno. Time for Pidgin - not a formal name for that bird that just flew past your window - but a Hackney fine dining restaurant you can now collect a three-course meal from or arrange a cab to deliver. Expect things like crispy fried pork pavé, burrata with smoked butternut squash, and fermented black bean sticky toffee pudding.