You’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise, but there’s much more to February than Valentine’s Day. Not only has pancake day crêped up on us, but Chinese New Year is fast approaching, so we bring you the best places to flip batter and see in the year of the sheep. If you’re a stickler for tradition you’ll also love the most quintessential offering imaginable: afternoon tea inside the British Museum, or maybe take it up a level (or 35) with tea in The Shard. And finally, there’s some fine cocktails and steaks to sink your teeth into. (The steaks, don’t bite the cocktails.)
1. Chinese New Year at Hutong
Award-winning food and traditional entertainment are an excellent way to celebrate Chinese New Year. So how do you make it even better? Do it from the 33rd floor of The Shard with incredible views of London, of course. On the 18th and 19th, Hutong are putting on a special 5-course menu with an authentic whole fish centrepiece, origami artists, and traditional lion dancers to boot. Puts Jools Holland’s Hootenanny to shame really doesn’t it?
2. Afternoon Tea at Shangri-La Hotel Book Afternoon Tea at Shangri-La Hotel
Talking of heights, the tallest building in the country has to be one of the more scenic spots to have a cuppa. Both English and Asian takes on afternoon tea are available in the Shangri-La Hotel, with the likes of smoked salmon sandwiches with citrus crème fraiche, and coconut dacquoise with ginger and coriander-infused pineapple proving that this is not your standard tea and cake affair. And yes, the view’s not bad either.
3. Pancake Day
Pancake Day is great, but let’s face it, once you’ve flipped your third pancake down the back of the cupboard, covered your kitchen in flour and finished with something resembling scrambled egg, it loses its appeal. Thankfully Foxlow are on hand with the ultimate start to the day, and not a drop of batter on the ceiling. For breakfast on 17th February, they’ll be serving up three variations of a classic: the Montecristo (cheese, ham and icing sugar), the Bourbon Caramel, and traditional Lemon and sugar pancakes for the purists.
4. Sophie’s Steakhouse & Bar Book Sophie’s Steakhouse & Bar
New to Bookatable, Sophie’s combines two of life’s great pleasure in one New York hangout-style venue: steak and cocktails. There’s steak, and then there’s native breed British beef, aged and butchered in-house, and grilled to perfection. Throw in barbecue ribs with hand-cut chips, and steak, mushroom and Guinness pie, and you’ve got quite a menu. And as for the cocktails, chilli-infused vodka with passion fruit, or the signature bloody Mary should hit the spot.
5. Afternoon Tea at the Court Restaurant Book Afternoon Tea at the Court Restaurant
The British Museum, Bloomsbury
In a poll of most British activity and most British building, afternoon tea and the British Museum would surely be front-runners. So you’d be forgiven for humming Rule Britannia in the Court Restaurant, sitting as it does beneath the spectacular glass roof of the British Museum’s Great Court. Handmade pastries, classic sandwiches and organic loose leaf teas are amongst the delights, which are almost enough to distract you from the majesty of the location.