I celebrated Valentine's Day at London's most romantic restaurant – with a friend

I celebrated Valentine's Day at London's most romantic restaurant – with a friend

I celebrated Valentine's Day at London's most romantic restaurant – with a friend

Sinead Butler and Amber Ghei

Flowers, cards, chocolates, and adoring declarations on social media, Valentine’s Day is the dedicated (and unavoidable) annual celebration of romantic love.

This is something singletons know all too well as they make humorous self-deprecating jokes and memes about their relationship status that often go viral online.

However, in recent years, showing love and appreciation for your friends around this time of the year has become increasingly popular with the rise of Galentine’s Day on February 13 – which originated from a 2010 episode of the US sitcom Parks and Recreation.

“What’s Galentine’s Day? It’s only the best day of the year,” Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler explained as she threw a party for all her gal pals.

But this year I did something different by combining the two holidays to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a fellow single friend instead… and we went to London’s most romantic restaurant.

There's seemingly an emerging trend of young people opting to dine with friends on February 14, with OpenTable finding that Gen Z'ers (18 to 26-year-olds) are most likely to consider celebrating the occasion with their friends (28 per cent) compared to 11 per cent of Millennials (27 to 42-year-olds).

Gen Z are most willing to seek out new dining experiences, with a third (33 per cent) saying they would try somewhere new for Valentine’s Day dining - which is exactly what we did.

OpenTable analysed over 1.1 million diner reviews and metrics to find the Top 100 Romantic Restaurants in the UK.

Amongst the list was 14 Hills, a restaurant and late-night bar located in the heart of the capital and is known for its unparalleled views of the city skyline.

For Valentine’s Day the establishment offered a luxurious five-course menu which me and a friend went to check out to answer the question - would we feel out of place?

Upon arrival, the dark mood lighting and music automatically gave off romantic vibes and it was clear to see why it has the nickname ‘the forest in the sky,’ since the space is decorated beautifully in foliage.

As we were guided to our table, we noticed lots of couples enjoying their Valentine’s Day date but we then got too distracted by the stunning views from where we were sat as we could see Tower Bridge among the lit-up skyscrapers.

The cocktail bar at 14 Hills (left) and the view from our table that looks out onto Tower BridgeSinead Butler and Amber Ghei

Of course, everyone knows there is one particular flower that is traditionally associated with this occasion, so a red rose for the table was a cute touch.

To begin with, we had a glass of champagne and started our five-course meal with an amuse-bouche, which was a flavoursome Yorkshire rhubarb gazpacho that we both enjoyed - given how quickly we consumed the dish.

Next up, we decided to try the Salmon Brioche to share and this included a Loch Duart salmon rillette, compressed cucumber, and a keta caviar, kaffir lime glazed brioche.

Both of us were surprised at the size of the sweet and moreish brioche while the salmon was a refreshing contrast – in the end, we couldn’t finish it between us (although we very much wanted to).

(Top) The Yorkshire rhubarb gazpacho, (bottom left), the salmon with cucumber and keta caviar, and (bottom right) the kaffir lime glazed brioche.Sinead Butler and Amber Ghei

That is because the main course was coming up and we needed space in our stomachs for the Chateaubriand (to share again, making the most of the Valentine’s menu).

This consisted of a 550g Black Hereford chateaubriand, baby gem, pommes frites, béarnaise and peppercorn sauce.

Admittedly, steak is not my go-to meal when dining out but I trusted my friend who was keen to try the course.

It ultimately proved to be the right decision as the rich medium-cooked fillets melted in our mouths and the baby gem with the fries perfectly balanced it out while the béarnaise sauce enhanced everything – both of us thoroughly recommend this.

(Left) The 550g Black Hereford chateaubriand and (right) the Two Hearts’ for dessert.Sinead Butler and Amber Ghei

As someone with a sweet tooth, I was very much looking forward to dessert as we took on board the waiter’s recommendation and got the aptly-themed ‘Two Hearts’ to share – a dark chocolate and passion fruit cremeaux and blood orange and raspberry bavarois.

It is fair to say we demolished this; the smooth chocolate heart did not get sickly thanks to the fruitiness of the blood-orange heart.

14 Hills also specialises in signature cocktails and so with our bellies full, we decided to give them a try – the ones we ordered were Hidden Gems, Midnight in Paris, Guava Groove and Strawberry Hill, and all were enjoyable to drink.

(If you’re looking for an Insta-worthy beverage then I’d recommend Strawberry Hill as a waiter comes to the table to add a smoke bubble onto the cocktail).

(Left) The Hidden Gems and Midnight in Paris cocktails, (right) the Strawberry Hill cocktailSinead Butler and Amber Ghei

Overall, me and my friend had a lovely time and any initial worries about feeling out of place quickly left our heads as we were too busy enjoying each other’s company.

The seating also helped with this since each party had their own space and were not on top of one another, so you could say that couples were in their own love bubble.

It was also just a good excuse to get dressed up and have fun with it, I decided to embrace the Valentine’s Day theme and wore a red dress with a love heart hair scrunchie to match.

So next year if you are single and are contemplating whether to go out to a fancy romantic restaurant with a friend on February 14 – take this as a sign to go for it!

While Valentine's Day is centred around romantic love, it can also be the perfect time to celebrate the importance, love and value of the platonic friendships in our lives.

How to join the indy100's free WhatsApp channel

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)