The government’s ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme offers diners a discount of up to £10 per person, excluding booze, when they eat out from Monday to Wednesday throughout August.
You met this person on Monday. Took them for a drink on Tuesday. Went out for a romantic, reasonably-priced Eat Out To Help Out dinner on Wednesday. And on Thursday and Friday and Saturday and Sunday you chilled, until the scheme started again on Monday. That’s our current dating plan, anyway.
We’ve got more guides if you want to ‘Eat Out To Help Out’, from the five best pasta restaurants and wine barstaking part in the scheme, to the best vegetarian and vegan spots, the best places for outdoor dining, and where you can get a full meal for a tenner.
The modern Turkish spot in Shoreditch is perfect for an intimate date night. Even more perfect is its early evening £20pp set menu. Available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 5pm - 6:30pm, it will get you lahmacun or a yolky Black Sea pide, chilli roasted cauliflower, grilled halloumi, courgette fritters, feta and pumpkin crostini, plus baharat bread and medjool date butter.
One of London’s most loved Xianjiang restaurants, Silk Road may not be the most glamorous of date spots, but it’s easily one of the most flavourful. The already excellent value menu is made even more tempting throughout August, with their cumin rubbed lamb skewers costing just 50p. It’s a no brainer for any couple looking to support restaurants but spend a little less.
We’re partial to a bit of romance at Kitty Fisher’s. The intimate, candlelit setting certainly helps, as does all the velvet. But more than anything, it’s those little cubes of Welsh rarebit, or a mouthful of malt ice cream with stout mousse that gets our heart pounding. The oh-so-British Mayfair restaurant is best for splurging in, and there’s no time like the present.
The Australian restaurant in Stoke Newington sits inconspicuously between a plumbing supply shop and an estate agents. Blink and you might find yourself buying a new pipe then, say, pork shoulder ragu pappardelle. And that would be an enormous shame. It’s a lovely, low-lit space, with a fine natural wine list, and a four-course EOTHO menu costing £15 a head.
Dotori is a local favourite in Finsbury Park that the rest of London sleeps on. The menu is part Japanese and part Korean and though we prefer the latter - especially the haemul pajeon (seafood pancake) - there’s nothing here that doesn’t taste good. You’ll more than likely have to put your name down and get a drink elsewhere, it’s that popular.
How do you know when you’ve found the one? Easy. When they take you for a £6 bowl of pork ragu, meatballs, and burrata pappardelle at Officina 00. The straightforward Italian in Old Street is, in our opinion, a 9.9/10 date spot. Nice, but not glitzy. Delicious, and affordable. Pasta for main, profiterole for pudding.
Peckham’s always-tasty Taiwanese restaurant is a date spot for the ages. There’s crisp and moist fried chicken thigh, homemade dumplings, and that teriyaki shiitake mushroom bao. With everything priced around £5, you can get yourself a feast.
The West African-influenced fine dining spot is one of London’s most unique restaurants and perfect for a date night with a difference. You’re unlikely to find sweetbreads with kaluga caviar elsewhere, nor plantain caramelised in ginger and kombu. If you’re looking for somewhere memorable: this is your place.
With locations on Exmouth Market and Hackney Road, you’ve got double the opportunity to enjoy Morito’s tapas plates in what will 100% be a very successful date. Nothing disappoints at this London classic. The atmosphere is always buzzing, and the Spanish and North African-inspired small plates always delicious.
Easily one of the best pubs in south and, in fact, the entirety of London, The Camberwell Arms matches wooden floorboards and pints of bitter, with things like grilled sardines and nduja butter. The bar and dining room has the ideal level hum, essential for any good date, and if you don’t fancy a full on meal you can always pop in for a bar snack.
Things you need on a date: good food, good company, and a good amount of wine. La Fromagerie has all three. Bag yourself an outside table at the Marylebone location and it’s happy days. Open from breakfast until dinner time, the menu moves from smoked salmon to a range of cheese and charcuterie boards.
The involvement of Dalston’s best Vietnamese café in the EOTHO scheme is excellent news for everyone, but especially us. It’s been known for us to go on consecutive solo dates here, slurping pho in the winter, or shovelling bun thit nuong cha gio in the summer. Prices are very reasonable, so you may as well go big.