FREE Prosecco or Pornstar Martinis with your sharing Chateaubriand? Yes, Valentine’s Night (Thursday February 14) is nearly upon us. The cynics here at ToM say true love was never won by complimentary heart-shaped dough balls at Pizza Express or a defrosted lobster.
So our round-up explores a few more offbeat treats, which we hope will tickle your romantic fancy. Or you could always stay home and dust off your DVD of ‘When Harry Met Sally… or maybe tackle your Tinder app?
Bakeorama Valentine’s pop up at Oklahoma
The quirky NQ gift store seems the perfect spot to host Charlotte O’Toole’s spectacular cakes. Pop by between 10am and 6pm and order a slice of cherpumple pie (cherry pie, baked inside a cake) if it's one. To whet you're appetite Charlotte is trading at GRUB at Fairfield Social Club today (Feb 8) and her menu includes cheesecake filled devil's foodcake and fudgecske truffle. Thu Feb 14, Oklahoma, 74-76 High Street, Manchester M4 1ES. 0161 834 1136.
Bittersweet – After Hours at Manchester Museum ‘Aphrodisiacs throughout history’ caught our attention at this exploration into the traditions and culture behind our love of food. There’s lots of other hands-on activity involving objects from the Museum’s collection. Expect sugar-focused workshops and, naturally, a bar showcasing a Caribbean rum punch recipe. It’s all free, too. Thu Feb 14, 6pm-9pm. After Hours, Manchester Museum, University, Oxford Road, M13 9PL.
One Love at Turtle Bay Also rum-based, one for the monogamists this extended Valentine offer (‘love knows no bounds’, sic) at the Caribbean chain’s outlets in the NQ and Oxford Street? The One Love fits in neatly with Bob Marley’s birthday on the 6th. In the icon’s honour they’ve created a four course special menu featuring the restaurant’s classic dishes plus a new cocktail – the Wray Crush, which blends Wray & Nephew and white cacao, topped with raspberry, lemon and grapefruit. Wed Feb 6-Sun Feb 17. Turtle Bay, 3-35 Oxford St, Manchester M1 4WB and 46-50 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE.
Love is in bloom at The Ivy It’s the glam Spinningfield venue’s first date with Manchester (and no crass jokes about ‘you set my heart on fire’) and they are celebrating in suitably extravagant style From Monday 11th to Sunday 17th guests dining at The Ivy Brasserie will enjoy a beautiful floral installation and a limited-edition dessert, the Key To Your Heart (£10.95), featuring raspberry sorbet and an indulgent white chocolate sauce, decorated with rose petals. On Valentine’s Day itself they unleash an exclusive cocktail, he Passion Fruit Cosmopolitan (£8.50) – a combo of Skyy Passion Fruit Vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, passion fruit and lime. The Ivy, Spinningfields, The Pavilion, Byrom Street, Spinningfields, Manchester. M3 3HG. 0161 503 3222.
4 Cocktail Flight at Science & Industry
Every night is a cocktail special at arguably the city’s nattiest mixological den. For spirited Valentiners they are putting on a four cocktail flight that’s inspired by the whole dining process, beginning with a starter cocktail, main, dessert cocktail & finishing off with a digestif. To book email To book firstname.lastname@example.org. Science and Industry, Cane & Grain, 49, 51 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
Village Screen’s Valentine’s Cinema at Victoria Baths We’ve never found swimming baths the most romantic of nests but we’ll make exceptions for the atmospheric Victoria Baths when it’s screening films with a touch of romance. And if you’ve had a fall-out there’ll be time to make up before packing the popcorn for Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet (9pm, Fri Feb 15) and a 5pm family friendly showing of The Little Mermaid , followed by 10 Things I Hate About You at 9.15pm on Saturday 16th. The Gala Pool will be filled with candy-striped deckchairs, while the smaller hall will host food traders before the screenings, with dim sum snacks from Dim Sum Su, Indian street food from Vaso Kitchen and sweet delights from Drizzle City Bakes. There’ll also be a bar. Pool level tickets cost £15 for adults, £13 for students and seniors, and £10 for children. Balcony level tickets cost £13 for adults, £11 for students and seniors, and £8 for children. There are family group ticket options for The Little Mermaid. Book via thevillagegreenevents.co Fri Feb 15 and sat Feb 16, Victoria Baths, Hathersage Rd, Manchester M13 0FE.
Valentine Movies at Tattu The modern Chinese restaurant in Spinningfields is offering its selection of romantic films the Sunday (10th) before Valentine’s and they accompany a three course menu and cocktail. First up is Hitch (1pm), then there’s When Harry Met Sally (4pm, you don’t have to watch it at home) and finally True Romance. Expect a Hearts and Roses dim sum selection and a traditional Chinese snowflake cake dessert with raspberry, coconut and white chocolate. Tickets cost £40 a head and must be booked in advance by ringing 0161 819 2060. Sun Feb 10, Tattu, 72 Gartside Street, Manchester M3 3EB. 0161 819 2060.
Go East for Vermilion’s Valentine Feast A little off the beaten track, this beyond opulent pan-Asian restaurant is a perfect romantic hideaway (but do book in advance; it is always hugely popular on Valentine’s Night). Start with ‘The Osaka Sushi Platter’, follow it with ‘The Mughal Koyla’ (lamb chops, lamb seekh kebab and tandoori quail served on a bed of Med veg and accompanied with wild mushroom fried rice, ‘Thai Koong Mungkorn’ (rock lobster with fresh green asparagus, Thai peppercorn and truffle oil. Dessert is mango and passion fruit cheesecake, Belgian chocolate brownie and mixed berry soufflé. All for £55 a head. Fri Feb 14, Vermilion, Hulme Hall Lane/Lord North Street, Sport City, Manchester M40 8AD.
Say it with flowers at Albert’s Schloss Why not say Ja to a Teutonic twist at this self-confessed ‘Bohemian Pleasure Palace’. Not only have they added two indulgent dishes and a lover’s cocktail, they have commissioned an in-house floral boutique. Lovers are invited to try the sharing pan fried scallops with caper and raisin puree, deep fried spiced cauliflower, sauerkraut and veil jus, followed by a sharing chocolate brownie with red honeycomb, blackcurrant sorbet, Bavarian cream and Chambord reduction finished with cherry sherbet. Best accompanied, they say, Valentine’s cocktail special ‘Long Kiss Goodnight’. Le Petite Fleuriste by FROG Flowers will be open 12pm-6pm on Wed 13th and Thu 14th to sell you some off the best-looking bouquets in town. Albert’s Schloss, 27 Peter Street, Manchester M2 5QR.
L’amour with Chansons at Randall & Aubin If music truly be the food of love, best let the wonderful Lucy ‘Chanteuse’ Hope serenade you with French love songs on the big night at this smart Bridge Street restaurant/bar. They are also serving a three-course special menu at £30 a head. Plus – well, it had to be – guests who reserve between 5pm and 7pm get a glass of free Prosecco. Fri Feb14, Randall & Aubin, 64 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BN.