After the traditionally quiet January, Valentine's Day is a chance for the hospitality industry to celebrate as customers seek to woo their loved ones over a special meal or drink.
BigHospitality has been in search of some of the more unusual and innovative ideas being run by restaurants, hotels and bars this weekend to find out how they're intending to grab the Valentine's trade.
North London restaurant Gilgamesh is hiding a diamond worth £600 in one of its Valentine’s cocktails. One lucky diner ordering the restaurant’s £10 Diamonds are Forever cocktail over the course of the Valentine’s weekend will be able to keep the diamond they find and have it made into a piece of jewellery worth £1,200 by Karl Karter Fine Jewellery. Gilgamesh head chef Ian Pengelley has also created a £50 three-course menu featuring pan-Asian dishes to be served over the weekend with dishes including Tempura of Oyster, Ikura and Orange Ponzu, Crusted Sea Bream, Roasted Cherry Tomato Salsa, Soy Onion Dressing and Hot Chocolate Fondant.
The West brewery restaurant in Glasgow is opening its doors to singletons and anyone else who doesn’t want to celebrate the day of romance with its 'unromantic lunch or dinner' on 14 February. The venue’s three-course £15.95 menu invites diners to try all the foods they’re advised against eating when trying to be romantic such as messy spaghetti, spicy dishes, raw onion and ungraceful ‘chunky’ food such as burgers. West will also be running speed dating from 7pm on Valentine’s Day that is ‘open to everyone – male or female, gay or straight, or whatever else you might be’.
Don't forget your toothbrush
To encourage customers to book a table at their Clerkenwell gastropub The Well on 13 February, pub operators Tom and Ed Martin are promising one couple a night's stay at the Malmaison hotel in nearby Charterhouse Square for free. The names of customers who book a table for two in advance and order the £30 aphrodisiac-packed four-course menu, will be put into a hat with one name pulled from the hat at the end of the night. The winning couple will be whisked straight to the Malmaison where they will stay for the night before having a full English breakfast the next morning.
Pillows and pendants
Southport’s Vincent Hotel will be hiding a diamond necklace donated by jewellers David M Robinson, under the pillow in one of its bedrooms on February 14. The boutique hotel's event manager originally said the necklace would be kept a secret, but has since contacted all booked guests about their potential find because she said she was concerned about complying with health and safety. "I began to worry that someone might accidentally injure themselves if they came across it without warning," she said. "Quite rightly there is a lot of legislation for hotel owners surrounding health and safety and you really can’t be too careful."