Valentine’s Day – whether you’ve been counting down by circling love-hearts around the days on your calendar, consider it a Hallmark cash-grab, deem it discriminatory to the single folk, or simply see it as a good excuse to holler at your loved ones, there are some very decent events on offer to mark the occasion. Besides, it’s Friday and that’s reason enough to celebrate. Below is an assortment of my prime picks for ways to spend the 14th of February 2014.
1. The Splurge Option
Vue De Monde – OK, what have you done? Because at $450 per head, I can’t help but suspect you have something to compensate for. Or maybe you and/ or your loved one just really appreciate the finer things. If you can sacrifice the coin, the six course degustation with matched wines and champagne, will undoubtedly be an experience that goes above and beyond.
2. The Little Less Lavish, but Still Classy Option
- Stokehouse Pop-up – After the shock loss of the much-loved Stokehouse to fire on 17 January 2014, the Van Handel team are launching a pop-up on the restaurant’s original site commencing on 14 February 2014 (although they may open earlier with a reduced menu). The pop-up will be marque-style, serving a selection of Stokehouse favourites, and will be open 7 days a week, 11am – late, until 11 May 2014.
(03) 9525 5555
- Pope Joan – Let Pope Joan be your St Valentine this year with a 3 course menu, including canapés and a mid-course cleanser at $150 for two. Grab your lover, or a mate, and enjoy the seasonal and skillful dishes Pope Joan has to offer.
- Bomba – Energetic, full of flavour and refreshingly affordable, this Spanish workers bar knows how to entertain. For Valentine’s Day, they are offering a lengthy set menu for $65 per head, including a glass of bubbles on arrival.
- State of Grace – For those who like to romance gracefully, head to State of Grace for a cocktail on arrival, followed by a three course dinner entitled ‘Be My Valentine’ ($70 per head) in the decadent interior adorned with chandeliers, marble staircases and velvet seats.
- Café Vue – The team at Café Vue have shaken-up a special Valentine’s Day themed Mixology, including six course degustation with matching wines and Champagne on arrival. I have been to two Mixology events, which have been wonderfully creative, delicious and a lot of fun. At $120 per head with matched wine, you are getting incredible bang for your buck.
- 1806 – Skip dinner and get straight to dessert (of course I meant that literally, get your mind out of the gutter) because 1806 is spreading the love with 2 glasses of Chandon and a selection of chocolates from Monsieur Truffle for a handsome $20. And then I dare you to resist staying for a few cocktails.
(03) 9663 7722
3. The Dramatic Option
Buy tickets for ‘Prix Fixe’, the new restaurant venture between Jason Jones and chef Philipa Sibley (Albert Street Food and Wine) that combines dining and theatre. The menu will be change monthly and take inspiration from the arts, music, theatre and seasonal produce. The first sitting will be on the 21st of February 2014, but with an opening act drawing on the Shakespearean classic, A Midsummer Nights Dream, it’s too perfect for Valentine’s Day not to mention here.
4. The Flying Solo Option
I love that Rumi is inviting singles to take a seat at their communal dining table this February 14 for a 5 course banquet to encourage singles to get among the action on Valentine’s Day. You might fall in love, or perhaps you’ll just banter with some interesting people. Rumi has never disappointed me, so at worst you’re going to get a brilliant Middle Eastern feast for a very reasonable $60 per head.
5. The Movie Option
Have you been to the Shadow Electric yet? The open-air cinema at the charming Abbotsford Convent is marking V-Day with a special screening of the classic rom com, ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, that’s sure to give you the warm and fuzzies. They’re serving up more than the cheese with ‘Extreme Romance’ packages at $185 a couple. You and your Sam/ Annie can swoon over a 4 course menu designed by Kobi Ruzicka (Them Bones) at a candle-lit table. Dishes such as oysters and cucumber, beetroot and rose Duck, and figs with milk and honey, are sure to have you feeling the love. They are also throwing in a bottle of Xanadu Premium Range Wine.
(03) 9013 4050
6. The LOL Option
If the idea of intense eye gazing with your loved one on a bed red roses makes you cringe, take it all less seriously and have your funny bone tickled at The Comic’s Lounge. Bond over a belly laugh while Adam Richard dishes up the gags. Tickets for the show are $30, or $50 for dinner and the show. (The price unfortunately hikes-up on Fridays and Saturdays from the usual $15 and $30 respectively).
26 Errol Street, North Melbourne.
Dinner from 6:30pm, show starts at 8:00pm.
7. The Out of Town Option
What could be more romantic than escaping the hustle and bustle for Valentine’s Day with your main squeeze (and having a Friday off so that you can do so)?
- Brae – After being awarded a radiant 5 out of 5 rating from the The Australian, Valentines Day could be the perfect opportunity for lovers of good food to determine whether they agree that Brae is the ‘the new national benchmark for Australian cooking and restaurant craft’. Hold hands and skip through the vegetable garden with your lover before getting cosy over a tasting menu built around the fruits of the region within which it’s situated, including the 30 acres of productive land it sits on ($180 per person, wine matching available for an additional $120 per person).
- Dromana drive-in – For some old-school romance, whisk yourselves off to Dromana 3 Drive-in for date night. They are offering Valentine’s Day packages for $55, which includes 2 admission tickets and 2 ‘Valentines Delights’ (which seem to be incredibly intense sounding desserts). Alternatively, smuggle a hamper of your favourite snacks and snuggle up to your choice of movie from ‘Endless Love’ to ‘Last Vegas’ to ‘Robocop’.
133 Nepean Hwy, Dromana, Victoria 3936
(03) 5931 0022
8. The Outdoor Option
Lap up the sunshine and get barefoot with a picnic. For ultimate freshness, dash to Victoria Market on your lunch break and load up on a barrel of cured meats, olives, relishes and cheeses from the Deli Hall, pluck a couple of pastries or fresh berries, snag a bottle of vino from Sword Wines, spear your basket with a baguette, scoop up some fresh prawns from the Seafood Hall, and hope to god your boss won’t mind you storing it in the fridge at work (and that your co-workers have cleared-out their suspect tupperwared left-overs). Then, after work, head down to your favourite picnic spot with whoever you feel inclined to, and bask in the balmy summer night while eating and drinking yourselves into a food coma.
Admire the open-air art work at Heide Park, soak-up the inner city oasis at Carlton Gardens, or gaze at the killer City skyline at Peters Reserve in Northcote. Check out this guide for some picnic spot inspiration.
What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? If you have any other noteworthy ideas for things to do on 14 February 2014, please share them below!