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Wednesday 8 February 2012

All You Need Is Love... And a Restaurant Reservation Next Tuesday...

You’re sitting at a table for two gazing into the eyes of your very favourite person in the world.  You’re bathed in candlelight, there are red roses on the table and you have your sexiest lingerie on under something suitably short, tight and revealing.  You’re lovingly spooning morsels of deliciousness into each others mouths between sips of Champagne and stolen kisses. 

Absolute fairytale perfection.

Apart from the fact that to the right, ten centimetres from the edge of your table, another couple are doing exactly the same… and ten centimetres to the left… oh and ten centimetres behind you...  They’re all eating exactly the same “special” romantic menu full of things that should not have been prepared in multiples of fifty four hours earlier.  They’re all desperately trying to avoid catching the eye of the man with the guitar wandering around serenading couples who shrink into their chairs and blush furiously as he stands over them belting out 'Wonderful Tonight'.  They’re all trying to be desperately romantic with each other while trying to ignore that their new underwear is bloody uncomfortable and should have been bought in the size up. 

It could only be February 14th.

Every year it’s the same.  And bear in mind that by the time you get to the dinner table at 8pm with everyone else, our favourite person in the whole world has spent all afternoon ringing around every restaurant that he can think of because he only realised at 4pm that it was Valentine’s Day when his secretary had roses delivered to her desk (it was then that he also found out that he needed to have ordered your roses a week ago which explains the cactus that he’s now bearing).

So with just under a week to go, here are a couple of ideas for something a bit different to do in Hong Kong this Valentine’s Day.  Boys, take note and maybe try to get something organised.  Girls, start dropping hints now... 

The One Where You Need to Get her Drunk: Champagne Tasting at the Flying Winemaker

The Flying Winemaker is a very cool little wineshop at the top of Lang Kwai Fong (on the corner of Wyndham Street and D’Aguilar Street) that opened at the end of last year.  The two storey space is all floor to ceiling windows, steel and sliding blackboards.  Downstairs is wall to wall racks of unusual wine from all around the world.  Upstairs is a wine education centre where owner, Eddie McDougall holds his WineSkool workshops. 

I popped in just before Christmas and Eddie explained that the idea behind the Flying Winemaker is to take the snobbishness out of wine and try to get us all to be a bit more adventurous with our wine selection, not always heading to 7eleven for a bottle of Oyster Bay.  At the opening in November, Eddie served drinks in plastic cups and encouraged everyone to forget about the rules and just enjoy the wine.  Our philosophy exactly. 

Next Tuesday, The Flying Winemaker is offering a special Valentine’s Champagne tasting. For HK$200 per guest you can sample 6 fine sparkling wines and champagnes and as if that’s not enough, there will also be complimentary chocolate strawberries. 

Where after?  Well its only a hop, skip and a jump to Al’s Diner.  Nothing says I love you quite like a tray of vodka jelly shots…

The Flying Winemaker 
G/F-U/F, 31 Wyndham St.
Lan Kwai Fong
To book, your place for the champagne tasting, email Stephanie at or call (+852) 25222187.

The One Where You Want to Make Her Think You’re Jamie Oliver (But You Can Only Boil An Egg): Romantic night in with Secret Ingredient

Its pretty clear why poor Michael Jackson had such strange relationships (Debbie Rowe, Lisa Marie Presley, and dare I suggest it, Macaulay Culkin…).  As a nine year old he was singing “A, B, C... that’s how simple love can be”.  We all know that that’s a lie. 

But, this Valentine’s Day there really is something as simple as A, B, C.  Secret Ingredient to the rescue.  If you’re one of those boys who has promised to cook but could burn water, the Secret Ingredient three course Valentine’s Day menu is the answer to your prayers.  Started-up by three boys last year, Secret Ingredient delivers the highest quality ingredients, ready washed, chopped and prepped together with step by step instructions to enable even the most kitchen shy of us to assemble very impressive meals.  All your ingredients come in boxes and pots labelled with letters and all you need to do is tip and stir as the instructions direct.

Order before Sunday and the boys will deliver you the means to put together: Duo of Fig Crostini with Rocket Salad, followed by Truffled Mushroom and Leek Risotto and last but not least, Chocolate Crust Cheesecake with Fresh Cherry Sauce (I’ve tried it and this alone is going to earn you mega brownie points).  Availability’s limited, so get in there quick.

Secret Ingredient
G/F, 32-34 Tai Ping Shan Street
Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
+852 2108

The Daytime One (or the One Where You Have a Couple of Sittings to Get Through): Afternoon Tea at Upper House

Met her last weekend in Solas and not sure whether she’ll hold up so well in daylight?  Not at the exclusive stage yet and have a few dates to fit in next Tuesday?  We have the answer, the daytime date.
Upper House’s Café Gray Deluxe has just launched a Jo Malone Red Roses Afternoon Tea which will be served all through February 2012.  The delicious spread includes scones, rose and raspberry macaroons, chocolate brownies and poppy seed pound cake with crystallised rose petals.  Tea choices range from the signature Red Roses Blend to classic Darjeeling and Earl Grey and  you’ll be taking your tea with some of the best views of Hong Kong’s harbour laid out in front of you.  
Tea is served daily from 3:30 to 5:30 pm and is a steal at just HK$185 a person or HK$345 for two which means that you’ll still have plenty of cash left for drinks with lucky lady number two at 6pm, dinner with number three at 8pm and even Espresso martinis with number four at 10pm...  Just call them all “babe” and no one’s going to be any the wiser…

Café Gray Deluxe
The Upper House
88 Queensway, Admiralty
Tel: 39681106

The One Where You Did Something Very VERY Wrong Last Week: Dinner with a view at the Ritz Carlton Hotel

If you’re seriously in the doghouse and only the roses and meal for two route is going to wash, at least do it properly.  

The Ritz Carlton is offering a special Valentine’s Take your Breath Away Dining Experience at Ozone which is perched up on the very highest floor of the 118 storey ICC building that the hotel tops.  The views out across the harbour and Hong Kong island really are breathtaking on a clear night but then so is the price… For HK$19,999 (plus 10% service – yes, that’s HK$1,999 just in service), you‘ll get exclusive use of the private dining room, a 10-course dinner menu for two, a bottle of Louis Roederer, Cristal 2004, a bouquet of 99 roses and a box of 99 chocolates.  Why go to all that effort and not make a proper entrance?  Better charter a helicopter too…

Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
International Commerce Centre
1 Austin Road West
Hong Kong
Phone: (852) 2263 2263


  1. Natalie, I love this! Wish you had a Dubai Valentine's guide. Well done! x

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Maya!

      Although it won't quite be in time for Valentine's, the two London Mice are off to Dubai very soon so keep your eyes peeled for their top Dubai picks! x