To mix it up from the usual musings, dating tales, and reviews, I’m introducing a new feature to this blog. If Twitter is anything to go by, it seems a fair few of my followers live in London and are currently dating. Plus I thought I could gain a little search traffic from Googlers searching for places in a specific location, so I thought I’d start a series of London date ideas. For each area, my aim is to pick out a selection of cool, fun, possibly quirky, out-of-the-way, date venues that you may not have heard of, so we can all start going on better dates. Well, in terms of the location at least.
To start with, we have Oxford Circus. Anyone who’s been to London has probably visited this world-famous shopping strip. In the heart of London and the epitome of “bright lights big city”, Oxford Street is a sight to behold, but dates here don’t have to cost the earth.
Here’s my pick of versatile date venues in Oxford Circus.
Ideal for: Any date, plus a pizza making class for special occasions
When people think of Oxford Circus, the main image that pops into your mind is the busy Oxford street with it’s huge mega-shops. However, just a short walk down one of the side streets, there’s an adorable hidden alley reminiscent of rural France with a selection of restaurants and bars. One of these is Mayfair Pizza. The restaurant has a tucked-away feel as it’s on the first floor so you have to enter via a narrow staircase, but once you’re inside there’s a bright and spacious atmosphere.
As you can guess by the name, the menu is mostly pizza, but they have some Italian pasta and meat dishes too. Restaurant pizza can be a bit hit and miss but Mayfair Pizza do super-tasty Italian-based pizza. The food is standard price; dishes cost from £8-£15. This place is perfect for a date or meal out with friends, but they also do a pizza making class for £35 which would make a great activity date or alternative birthday or anniversary celebration.
Ideal for: First-second dates, plus events and wine tasting for special occassions
Wine lovers will adore 28-50. It’s a wine bar and restaurant with a sophisticated vibe. As you can imagine the wine list is pretty extensive. It comes at standard London price which isn’t cheap, but there’s an option of getting smaller glasses for £2-3, so it’s a great venue for an after-work drinks date.
The menu is fairly upmarket British food; mostly meat but I had pasta. The food is more expensive than average, so stick to just drinks if you’re looking for a low-investment first date, but it’s a handy addition if a date’s going well and you get hungry, or you’re doing a dinner-drinks combo. 28-50 also do wine tasting and other wine-related events; these are pricey though so perhaps one for a special occassion.
Ideal for: Second date onwards
Dishoom is probably my absolute all-time favourite restaurants, and the Carnaby branch is no exception. It’s a modern Indian restaurant with incredible decor and they’re also super-nice: one time I booked a work leaving meal there and they emailed afterwards to offer me a free breakfast. The prices are really good considering the quality- you could eat there for under a tenner if you wanted to. Unfortunately this means there is high demand- on a busy day you could end up queuing for an hour to get in, which is why I recommend this one for date two onwards so you’re not stuck there for ages with someone you can’t stand.
Dishoom’s menu is Indian with a bit of a twist. They have a few curries, but also meat dishes, kebabs, and some seriously cool small plates such as chilli cheese toast and okra fries. I live for their house black daal. They also do a selection of drinks including cocktails and this incredible spicy chai.
What date venues would you recommend in Oxford Circus?
Also, if you’ve been to a great date venue in London, please let me know so I can include it in a future post!