Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
If the views over the London skyline weren’t enough for you then we’d hope a wasabi, apple and celery bellini would surely lure you up this high. The bonus being that Duck & Waffle offers the rather unique promise of being open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year so you just need to find time in your busy schedule to visit. There really is no excuse.
Their small plates have a modern Spanish twist offering endless munching options till the wee hours. Spicy ox cheek doughnuts, roasted octopus, fillet of angus beef carpaccio and the pièce de résistance; the foie gras crème brûlée.
Booking is essential UNLESS you’re intending to visit at 5 in the morning. Then, we’d imagine you’ll find a table.
Sky Pod Bar, 20 Fenchurch Street London EC3M 3BY
Housed in the glass dome of 20 Fenchurch Street the Sky Garden has been making waves since its opening in January 2015. The danger of over-hype is that critics tend to pan it off the bat. But we love the combination of views with the lush greenery of the landscaped gardens throughout.
With 360 degree views across the City of London this is one to impress your date. Choose from Darwin Brasserie or the Fenchurch Street Bar and Grill finishing with a reliably good cocktail at the Sky Pod Bar (open until 2am). The best place to sit is at the Darwin with a classically British menu serving up pork belly, venison and plaice with a sophisticated twist. If you have a table a place at the bar is guaranteed.
It might be hard to get the reservation but do persevere. This is the equivalent of finding Ramsay at the top of the London Eye.
Aqua, Level 31 The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY
You’d be unsurprised to discover that cocktails don’t come cheap in this kind of setting. Looking out on the 31st floor of the Shard, you are allowed to feel just a little bit above one’s station with a view to rival the London Eye. Swanky as it is and occasionally finding one to many business groups it in fact lends itself perfectly to a romantic tête-à-tête.
The cocktails are inspired by two British staples; the botanicals used to make gin and the classic British tea. It all sounds a bit posh to us but you’d be right to expect some special ingredients when hosting this view. We loved the ‘No Money for Butter’ champagne cocktail (pisco, lavender syrup and lemon juice) and the slightly quirkier ‘Grapefruit Gateau’ with Ciroc, grapefruit juice and egg white.
It’s worth the trip alone just for a swanky cocktail or three but we’d go the whole hog and book in for supper (good luck with getting a reservation). The food, rest assured, is excellent.
The Boundary, 2-4 Boundary Street, London E2 7DD
Sir Terence (AKA Conran) converted this Victorian Shoreditch warehouse to the closest thing we’ve found to New-Yorker chic on our humble Isle. East London has all the luck. Set over three floors, you can hide in the basement restaurant or romance on the candlelit rooftop with sparkling views over the City. You can even book a room for later and romance her something rotten.
The food is French and a real hit with us ladies with tiger prawn raviolis and sea bass with sauté squid. Light but exquisite.
The pièce de résistance is surely the vistas from rooftop garden which is open all year round and now benefits from a weatherproof pergola to dine without fear of the British weather doing as we expect. Settle in for the day amongst their working kitchen garden, 100-year old olive trees and canopies of grape-producing vines. A taste of Provence comes to London.