IT’S an odd coupling – Pancake Tuesday (Feb 13) segueing straight into Valentine’s Day (14th). You just worry if a preponderance of eggy batter on the eve of all things Lurve might have dyspeptic consequences ahead of next day’s candlelit dinner…
1 Not that that bothers Bundobust. Their very light Shrove special, a Sweet Sweet Dosa – mango rice crepe filled with almond, pistachio and lime cream with a mango and cumin sauce for just a fiver – remains on the Valentine’s Menu. Where it is joined by all kinds of loved up treats. With every combo for two at the Piccadilly craft beer bar/veggie kitchen you get a tub of their much-loved okra fries for free.
ToM thinks co-owner Marko Husak is getting a little over-heated when he describes the apparently aphrodisiac okra as ‘mother nature’s green vegetable of love’, but we are seduced by the 25 per cent off sharing bottles of beer (below).
2 Or maybe cocktails are more your idea of a romantic tipple? Even one called Spanking Roger? OK, it does sound more 50 Shades of Grey than do you fancy a cuddle, love, but it’s the signature cocktail at Store Street in the Doubletree by Hilton near Piccadilly Station. We’ve explored the eponymous Roger’s back story before in Taste. The drink itself, a spaced out Bloody Mary, is almost as spicy as 50 Shades. If you plan to curl up at home check out the recipe and how to make it via our video on how to make it below. Better idea really is to take up Store Street Craft Bar’s 241 offer on it throughout Valentine’s week (Feb 12-18). Stay on for Store Street Exchange Restaurant’s £70 a couple Valentine’s Night Dinner with live music. Check out the website for details and to book.
3 Galleries are traditional hunting grounds for impromptu trysts. At Manchester Art Gallery we’d recommend donning your best black roll neck and stand gazing sensitively at Auguste Charles Mengin’s Sappho hoping for a chat-up. Alternatively on Thursday, February 15 speed date your way through the Pre-Raphaelites and then enjoy a special foodie treat in the Gallery Café. The three course Valentine’s Special Dinner is collab between head chef Mary Ellen McTague (photo Chris Payne) and Isobel Jenkins, of Seasons Eating Supper Club. Enjoy a free prosecco cocktail on arrival and a paired wines list (£20pp extra) to match a menu that includes beetroot carpaccio, cured mackerel and game pie, all sourced locally. The night is limited to 20 pairs of tickets, so book early to avoid a broken heart. 6.30pm-9pm. £42.38. Book via eventbrite.
4 Mosley Street has never spelt romance for ToM before, yet on the 14th, just up from the At Gallery at the Portico Library our editor, Neil Sowerby, is hosting a wine tasting with poetry event. The Five Stages of Love are traced through five wines representing Cheap Date, First Spark, Flirtation, Seduction and Consummation with appropriate verses (it is a revered 18th century private library after all). Included in the £35 a head ticket are five glasses of wine and sharing boards of food. 6.30pm-8pm. Book here.
5 From lovelorn Vegantine to full-bloodied wolfer of sharing Chateaubriands, everyone’s catered for on Valentine’s Night when even the unlikeliest spots are rolling out their recipes for Lurve. The most extravagant offering? Surely at Rosso. Bling’s always been a thing at the Spring Gardens Italian, but they’ve surpassed themselves with their ultra-exclusive Tavolo D’oro (Golden Table). For £300 settle into a bespoke booth decorated by a boutique florist, for a three course dinner bookended by a £75 bottle of Laurent-Perrier Rosé and a gift of handmade truffles to take home (don’t guzzle them on the bus).
6 Fancy a Beauty and the Beastro Blind Date?
Some of the most satisfying food in Manchester is served up at Beastro at Spinningfields Left Bank and their Valentine’s Night menu looks a delight. Would you like to share it with a stranger? The Beastro team have joined forces with dating app Bumble to offer a prize of a Three-course Blind Date for Two. Over to them: “Whether your passion is avocado on toast, sausage dogs or rock climbing we want to know! Share a photo of your passion on Instagram tagging @bumble @beastromcr and @yolkhq and we'll see if we can find your match! Two lucky winners will meet their match at Beastro on Valentine's Day at 7pm. Bee sure not to miss out!”