Restaurants & Valentine's Day - Key to the Heart

Does looking at him/her make you skip a heartbeat? Well, celebrate and treat both your stomachs' grumbles and roars to pomp, splendour and a lot of taste this Valentine's Day!

By: Karishma Parkash

Posted on: February 10, 2011

Does looking at him/her make you skip a heartbeat? Well, celebrate and treat both your stomachs’ grumbles and roars to pomp, splendour and a lot of taste this Valentine’s Day!
Is the way to a man’s heart truly through his stomach? In this century, a way to anyone’s heart is through their belly! Please your valentines’ appetite this romantic February and their heart is all yours! Valentine’s Day (if nothing else), is a perfect chance to show your loved one you care. This festival is perhaps the only festival celebrated all over the world with the same spirit and gusto to express love to the special someone in your life. If you are looking to utter those three magic words, worry not, for all the top chefs of exotic restaurants have decided to go all out to set the night right for you! 
Restaurants have a great ambience for Valentine’s Day. “A perfect option for those looking to have a wholesome experience, a restaurant will offer you that and more. With a perfect balance of dishes that will tickle your taste buds at exactly the right spots, pick a restaurant that you both love,” says Nishant Choubey, Executive Chef of the incredibly romantic-looking Italian restaurant Cibo, New Delhi.
Red in the Head
Wondering what these top notch chefs have up their sleeves for V Day?  Don’t. Valentine’s Day is a big opportunity for most restaurants to dress up the place in romantic colours and showcase their culinary talents. “We are organizing a special a la carte menu for all lovers who wish to celebrate this romantic day with us” says Executive Chef Philip Gomes of Italian restaurant Villa 39, Mumbai. 
For all those outdoor lovers, Four Seasons Mumbai has an exciting plan which promises to be a very romantic evening. “We are planning an exclusive pool side dining experience. It will incorporate a five-course degustation dinner with champagne,” says Clinton Cooper, Executive Chef, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai. 
Heart on a platter
Wondering why every lover sticks to the time honoured formula of the colour red, be it in the form of flowers, chocolates or clothes? Red is a colour that has been traditionally reserved for lovers and has always enjoyed an iconic status as being synonymous for romantic love. Along with red, add the shape of a heart and you have won yourself a brownie point!
According to Cooper, the element of red is essential but should not be given over importance. “There will be a few red and heart shaped elements in the food. However, it will be done very subtly to enhance the food rather than dominate it. Oysters signify love and romance and are well known as being a natural aphrodisiac. So we will be doing a variation of oysters, where you will try them cooked in three different styles with three different textures,” he said. 
On the other hand, Choubey feels that the colour red and hearts have been done way too often and they need to do something different this year. “Last year we stuck to the traditional heart shapes and did heart shaped pizzas which our customers found fascinating! But this year we have decided to move away from the heart shape. This time I have decided to keep the food simple, yet at the same time festive and colourful. An ideal four course set menu paired with the right wine is the way to go this Valentine’s Day,” he says.
Choose a place with a beautiful setting and a great décor as it is an important criterion that may affect the entire evening. “Exactly!”, say the experts. “The decor is equally important as this creates a romantic atmosphere apt for a couple who want to enjoy every moment. For example, heart shaped helium balloons! We are planning to design a creative and elegant ambience for the couples to enjoy their romantic dinner at Villa 39 and make their experience a thoroughly unique and memorable one,” says Gomes.
According to Cooper, “These days dining out has become a common activity, more like going to the theatre! Food is just a small part of that experience. It is about giving the complete package to the guests and dazzling all their senses, not just taste”. Choubey on the other hand pays most importance to the table set up as that is where the couple spends most of their time at the restaurant, and eat and enjoy the entire experience. So cloth up and remember not only to feast the stomach, but also the eyes – besides your date of course!
House to a Home
If the word ‘private’ spells more romance for you, then worry not. From the horse’s mouth itself, a do-it-yourself experience at home is also a great option. “Enjoy yourself and pamper your partner on Valentine's Day by going out for a fun filled evening of dancing and then dining at a lovely romantic place, even if it’s just home,” says Gomes. Cooper recommends selecting a romantic place to begin with, even if not a fancy restaurant. “Choose a romantic location, like a beach, park or roof top. Keep the food simple and of course choose a great partner to share it with!” he says.
For all the novices out there, Choubey lends a helping hand and guides you from start to finish. “Simple and easy does it,” he says. “I would recommend buying nice champagne that will work well with most foods and is easily available. Toss up a roast chicken at home (exotic and at the same time romantic - use baby carrots and a rosemary sauce) which you can couple with nice breads, a mushroom pate with garlic, and a clarified butter pate. Cold meats and cheese are also a good option while a plum pudding can be the ideal finish to the night.”
Exciting and overwhelming, make the night special for the both of you in any way you like, but don’t go over the top. After all, remember – it’s all about the two of you...


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