Sometimes, it’s best to keep things simple. Valentine’s Day needs to be nothing more than a booking for two in an intimate corner of a beautiful restaurant, a good bottle of wine, a dessert to linger over. Here are some worthy options.
Sydney: Cho Cho San
Recently named by Time magazine as one of the best new restaurants in the world, Cho Cho San happily lives up to the hype. With its pared back interior designed by architect George Livissianis and inventively modern Japanese cuisine, it’s the perfect spot for a date that skips the soppy clichés. Settle into one of the private corners away from the communal table and order some sake from the extensive list. Don’t miss the fresh Sydney rock oysters in dashi, and for dessert, the green tea soft serve combines the light, not-too-sweet taste of matcha with the nostalgia of a traditional waffle cone. A delight.
Supernormal’s lobster rolls have achieved cult status amongst Melbourne foodies – the soft brioche rolls filled with Kewpie mayo, fresh lobster and watercress strikes a delicate balance between the sweetness of the warm bun and the piquant lobster. The Pan-Asian favourite doesn’t take bookings for groups less than six, so plan to arrive early and perhaps treat your date to some champagne at the bar while you wait.
Brisbane: E’cco Bistro
A fixture of the Brisbane contemporary dining scene, E’cco Bistro remains one of the city’s most exciting establishments thanks to owner and chef Philip Johnson’s focus on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. This year, E’cco Bistro is raising the bar with a special Valentine’s Day lunch menu – which happily includes Johnson’s signature mushrooms on toast as one of its entrée options. A thoughtfully curated wine list and consistently excellent service will ensure your date will go off without a hitch.
Make sure you’re dressed the part when you ascend the elevator to this refined establishment – the doorman is known to turn people away if they don’t live up to 2KW’s high standards. Once you’ve passed muster however, you’re guaranteed a memorable night: from the spectacular panorama view from the rooftop bar that spans the lush gardens of Government House and beyond, to the fresh, seasonal menu offered at the restaurant.
Located in the Nishi building, Monster offers a menu designed to share – perfect for an intimate date for two. Take your time to graze through the meandering menu, which traverses everything from the simple (perfect Clair de Lune oysters) to the thoroughly inventive (twice cooked Western Australian octopus with chorizo, smoked potato and nettle). As it’s part of Hotel Hotel, Monster keeps long hours – feel free to linger over the extensive wine list until the small hours of the morning.