Be it a super smoochy Valentine’s or the more modern Galentine’s, here are plenty of ways to mark the day south of the river…
Words: Paloma Lacy
Lead image: Birdies by @owenbphoto
1 Brunch at Cinnamon Kitchen, Battersea Power Station
It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day so make this one a corker at Cinnamon Kitchen at Battersea Power Station. Question is, will it be sea bream and turmeric kedgeree with poached egg, Bombay scrambled eggs, or Uttappam? The latter – South Indian rice pancake with coconut chutney and lentil sambhar – will certainly set you up nicely for the day. They’re also serving up a three-course (four courses if you count the appetisers) Valentine’s Day menu with a Lovers’ Kiss cocktail for £50pp.
4 Arches Lane, Battersea SW11 8AB; cinnamon-kitchen.com
2 Dinner at Park’s Edge’s Bar & Kitchen, Brockwell Park
Boasting unparalleled views over glorious Brockwell Park, Park’s Edge’s Valentine’s menu promises something very special this year, taking the diner on a tour of modern Caribbean cuisine. How does rio of native lobster with squid ink tuille or warm Cotswold Brie croquettes, served with a honey mustard emulsion, Parmesan salad and cranberry grab you for starters? Mains include pistachio & parsley stuffed lamb saddle, romanesco, candied plantain, pearl barley & parsley root purée, or surf and turf for the classicists. And there a few clever desserts, like Chocolate Box – salted milk chocolate Aero, Malibu chocolate mousse, honeycomb, kumquat, citrus sherbet, poured with sorrel butterscotch sauce. Available 13-15 February.
49-51 Norwood Road, Herne Hill SE24 9AA; parksedgebarandkitchen.com
3 Crazy Golf at Birdies, Battersea
Action packed pursuits at Birdies in Battersea, London’s newest cocktail bar and crazy golf experience, could just be the way to keep you amused this Valentine’s Day. Enjoy a sharing cocktail, food platter from their on-site restaurant – Taco-Yaki – and a round of golf for two, all for £50 from 12-14 February. Steer clear of traditional windmills and boring golf ramps and let Birdies take your date night to new heights spicing things up with a surreal nine-hole course, complete with mirrors, infinity holes and hidden tracks. Perfect for pairs, loved up couples can devour a Love Potion No. 9, a delicious sharing cocktail of Bombay Sapphire gin, Picpoul de Pinet, St Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon and raspberries, topped off with a sherbet dip dab. Not coupled up? No worries! Birdies is also the ideal destination for those celebrating Galentine’s Day with cocktails like the Yum Yum or Knickerbocker Royale.
8 Arches Lane, Battersea SW11 8AB; playbirdies.com
Pop Brixton’s Gyalentine’s celebration is a club night featuring an all-female, women-of-colour line up, playing sexy sets to celebrate being single, in love and everything in-between. Expect the sounds of R&B, Hip Hop and Trap playing until midnight, with sets from Taylah Elaine, DryBabe and more. 7pm-12am. Free.
49 Brixton Station Road SW9 8PQ; popbrixton.org
5 Nadia Jae’s Valentine’s Ball at Boxpark Croydon
Bring your best moves to Nadia Jae’s Valentine’s Ball at Boxpark Croydon, with special guests including Brit singer Sasha Keable, who’s collaborated with Disclosure and Katy B. The event highlights the best in R&B, Soul and Funk. Whether you’re single and ready to mingle, or heading out on the biggest date night of the year, BBC 1Xtra resident and queen of R&B Nadia Jae will get you up on your feet and dancing to top DJs and vocalists whilst sipping on special cocktails on offer – perfect for sharing or enjoying solo. The event will run from 7pm-11pm and tickets are free. There’s a good number of deals from many of the 40+ food vendors, too. Sri Lankan K+K Street Food will be serving up a sharing Raja Bhojana; the Sri Lankan ‘Royal Meal’ for just £39.99 for two (usually £25 each). Dive into a delicious Filipino sharing platter of rice, meat, and vegan spring rolls from Kubo for just £14, tuck into a heart shaped pizza from Arancina, or treat your significant other to two main courses accompanied by two glasses of Prosecco at Ravioli for just £20.
6 Thames Clippers Family River Roamer
Looking for fun for the whole family, take to the river this February with Thames Clippers and to enjoy London’s many family activities, including interactive museums and trampoline parks. Kids go free with a Family River Roamer ticket (£35.60 when bought online) allowing families to hop-on and hop-off the Thames Clippers boats all day long in London. The River Bus is offering an on-board kids meal deal during the February half-term for only £3.50, including lunch. To keep children entertained during the journey, grab a Learning the Ropes activity book which includes river-based activities, puzzles, quizzes and information. Activities for children to enjoy along the river include: A festival for bookworms (London Eye (Waterloo Pier): Southbank Centre’s annual Imagine Children’s Festival focuses on all things to do with children’s books, welcoming children of all ages from tots to teens (12-23 February).
7 Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie, County Hall
The West End production of Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie is slaying on the South Bank. The production has prooved so popular it’s enjoying an extended run. This classic, gripping tale of justice, passion and betrayal from the queen of crime unfolds in a magnificent courtroom setting, The Chamber; a spectacular space hidden away in County Hall on London’s South Bank. Lucy Bailey (Love from a Stranger, The Graduate, Titus Andronicus) places the audience in the thick of the action inside the ornate listed building. Booking until 13 September 2020. The production welcomes new cast members including Taz Skylar as the accused Leonard Vole, Alexandra Guelff as Romaine Vole, Jo Stone-Fewings as Sir Wilfrid Robarts QC, Jeffery Kissoon as Mr Justice Wainwright and Crispin Redman as Mr Mayhew.
8 Palentine’s & Valentine’s at AYB Studio, Elephant & Castle
15 & 16 February
At Your Beat Studio is hosting a very special Palentine’s double whammy, where you can take a friend for free, this Valentine’s weekend. If you want to #BeExtra with your main man/woman, try the Valentine’s Day Magic Mike Workshop. Taught by Magic Mike choreography expert Lucie, have your bae (or BFF) watch you steam up the room with a saucy urban routine to Ciara – Body Party. For those of you who want to spend Valentines feeling like a star in your own music video with your bestie, try AYB’s special Galentine’s Day workshop and go #fullout with a Hollaback Girl x My Neck, MyBack mash up. On Sunday 16 February there are back-to-back workshops starting with Crazy in Love (Fifty Shades edition), and for those of you enjoying your freedom and plenty of sass, there’s a Pussy Cat Dolls I Don’t Need a Man X When I Grow Up mash up. Secure your space online and just take along a friend with you for free.
The Castle Centre, 2 St Gabriel Walk SE1 6FG; atyourbeat.com
9 Lady Chastity’s Reserve Escape Room, Battersea
Bring your friends on an adventure to of hilarious clue solving as you escape the world you know and enter rooms of ludicrously twisted mysteries solve Lady Chastity’s sordid secrets in time to win her fabled bottle of aphrodisiac wine. This escape room is not for the faint of heart, offering an immersive adventure which will have you delving into secret rooms hidden in the depths of England’s finest drinking establishments. If you want to get your pulse racing in a different way this Valentine’s Day, this is the event for you. Taking place at The Four Thieves in Battersea and The Hope in Farringdon. Slots are available on Valentine’s Day and Saturday 15th but are booking out fast. From £24pp.
10 Franklins Restaurant, East Dulwich
Franklins, one of our favourite spots on Lordship Lane, is offering a special Valentine’s Day menu for all the lovers of good, seasonal food – vegans and veggies included! Start with either curried parsnip & apple soup, confit duck & prune terrine, or smoked mackerel with samphire, fennel, radish & frisée. Mains include courgette, cherry vine tomato, wild mushroom & goat’s curd blini, pork belly with Savoy cabbage, bacon, shallots & carrots, Black Leg chicken with butter beans & chorizo, and whole plaice with chicory, mussels & green sauce. For dessert, choose from a chocolate, salted caramel & shortbread pot, Yorkshire rhubarb, mascarpone & flap jack, baked marmalade pudding & custard, coffee parfait & poached pear, or a cheese plate (£2 supplement). Available 14 February priced £35pp. If you like, you can even tag on a dozen (£30) or half dozen £15) West Mersea rock oysters for a little extra va-va-voom. There’s even a vegan menu.
157 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich SE22 8HX; franklinsrestaurant.com
11 Screening of Romeo & Juliet at Rivoli Ballroom, Brockley
Rivoli Ballroom is the last standing 1950s ballroom in London and because of its original decor, it’s a popular location for various movies (think Tom Hardy’s Legend and The Avengers Age of Ultron). Being one of the city’s most unique pop-up cinemas, it’s a smashing spot to curl up this Valentine’s if you want to do something a little different. Screening Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet, you’ll have a fully stocked bar of British ales, ciders and craft beer to keep you hydrated and a cinema-ready menu of popcorn and hot dogs.
Rivoli Ballroom, 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park SE4 2BY; designmynight.com
12 Sorella, Clapham
Neigbourhood Italian restaurant by Robin and Sarah Gill and Daniel Joines – sister restaurant to The Dairy, Darby’s and Counter Culture – was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand 2019, so you know you’re onto a good thing for a romantic dinner for two. The Valentine’s Day menu is a five-course feast following the traditional Italian format of cicchetti, antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci. The cicchetti and antipasti feature the likes of fried olives, truffle arancini, Sorella cured meats and fried cuttlefish. The primo is tagliatelle with black truffle & wild mushrooms, while the secondo is an indulgent dish of roasted sirloin with calcot onions & cavolo nero. And dolce? Choose from dark chocolate mousse & mint gelato and meringue with Yorkshire rhubarb sorbet & Douglas fir pine. Available on 14 February priced £60pp including a glass of prosecco.
148 Clapham Manor Street, Clapham SW4 6BX; sorellarestaurant.co.uk
Catford Mews is catering for pals, gals and romantics this weekend with a special preview screenings of Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Céline Sciamma’s follow up to her 2014 masterpiece Girlhood and one of the most hotly anticipated films of 2020 – on 14 February (6.45pm, £8.99). Also on the 14th is the most joyous celebration of Palentine’s Day – The Bleedin’ Liberties Live Gig, featuring blazin’ fiddles, fiery vocals, tempestuous guitar and accordion with attitude, performing everything from 17th century bangers to Cher and Springstein (8pm, free entry).
32 Winslade Way, Catford Centre SE6 4JU; catford-mews.co.uk
14 Babur, Forest Hill
Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty, is celebrating his 537th birthday this Valentine’s Day, so there’s never been a better time to head to his namesake restaurant in Forest Hill! The Babur team is celebrating by serving up some special dishes that would never have been created had Babur not conquered India, including the likes of kale, potato and paneer kofta with rose and cardamom sauce, seared Baramundi with Rajasthani mustard sauce and mustard mash, and goat shoulder tikka with burnt chili spinach mash and Kashmiri rogan josh. The three-course menu kicks off with an aperitif cocktail (Golden Bubbles, with cinnamon liquor, gold leaf, apple and sparkling wine), and starters including beetroot paneer tikka, crab and hake fish cakes with homemade Kaffir lime-chili jam, or pheasant shami kebab. For dessert, choose from the likes of strawberry mawa cheese cake and cauliflower brulée. The 6pm and 8pm sittings are priced at £46.95pp, while the 10pm sitting is £36.95pp. A matched wine flight is available for £17.95pp.
119 Brockley Rise, Forest Hill SE23 1JP; babur.info