Mark Hix suggests mixing it up for Valentine’s Day

Does everyone look forward to Valentine’s Day, I wonder? 

This romantic celebration certainly fills restaurants, but if you’re not careful as a restauranteur you will end up with a room full of tables-for-two, all silently staring into each others’ eyes.

I always remember my old boss Jeremy King telling me the story of booking himself into Burgh Island in Devon for a couple days to escape London and it was only when he walked into the restaurant in his dinner suit that he realised what day it was. He was placed awkwardly in the centre of the room surrounded by loved-up couples. From memory, he had a great night, because they all felt sorry for him so bought him drinks and kept him entertained. After an embarrassing start, he probably had the best fun in the room!

I would much rather recommend going to a restaurant in a large group, or doing a dinner party at home and splashing out on some luxury ingredients. You can even invite some single mates, and play Cupid!

I always regard these curious annual celebrations as an excuse for pushing the boat out, getting a bit sozzled and having lots of fun. Have you seen how much some places charge for Valentine’s night? Do you really want to eat a five-course menu scattered with heart-shaped nonsense when you can have lobster and chips at home instead?

I know what I’d choose.