Whether you’re head over heels for Valentine’s Day or rolling your eyes at it, the season of love is creeping closer. Some may scoff at the flood of red roses, heart-shaped chocolates, and predictable Hallmark cards that flood the scene when February rolls around. But not me – I’m all about embracing Valentine’s Day with both arms wide open. Call me a romantic at heart – or maybe just basic – but I’m all in for the experience. And what better place to dive into romance than a visit to Clos Maggiore, nestled right in the heart of Covent Garden?
Clos Maggiore has quite the reputation for being a hotspot for popping the big question, reportedly even more so than the Eiffel Tower in a typical month. It might be considered a cliché for romantic outings, but trust me, this is one cliché worth hopping on board for.
Imagine this: a stunning dining conservatory adorned with a mesmerising apple blossom setup, a retractable glass roof that lets you peek at the stars, a cosy log fire crackling in the background, and intimate tables tucked away in snug corners. The place oozes opulence with its crisp white tablecloths, deep red walls, impeccably dressed servers, and the hushed murmurs of sweet nothings. It’s a slice of Gallic charm, the perfect spot for an intimate tête-à-tête.
The menu offers delicious Provençal and Basque dishes, a nod to its part Italian, part French name. The service is smoother than the best pick-up line, servers hovering politely – just in case my date proposes (he didn’t). We opt for the tasting menu which offers five of the most stunningly presented dishes.
To start we have a buttery soft Orkney scallop with roasted cauliflower, capers and raisins. Next up is a clear crowd pleaser: steak tartare with pickled onion and chive, almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. The Scottish halibut is equally divine, with seaweed butter sauce theatrically poured over by our waiter, who has an uncanny resemblance to Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. The star of the show is the Rhug Estate venison loin with a gorgeous chestnut puree. Perfectly pink in the middle with a slightly charred crust, it’s any carnivore’s dream.
The meat is perfectly paired with a bottle of silky-smooth Italian pinot noir, one of a whopping 2,500 different wines on the menu. Unsurprisingly, Clos Maggiore has been awarded the very rare Wine Spectator Grand Award every year since 2014, an accolade only two restaurants in the entire United Kingdom has received.
To end the evening, we are presented with a Valrhona chocolate, coffee and toasted hazelnut delice. Neither overly rich nor sweet, it reminds me of Tiramisu in cake form. Not usually someone with a penchant for desserts, even I am surprised at how much I like it.
33 King St, London WC2E 8JD