Continuing on with our February love fest, we sat down with our talented Group Executive Chef, Paul McGrath, to get his top tips on creating a romantic dinner for two. With his help, we’ve set up a little checklist for success so that you can pull off the most romantic dinner of the year at home.
When planning a romantic dinner at home, the first thing you’ll need is a drink to start off the night (read: take the edge off).
Chef Paul says: “Always opt for quality over quantity. I’d recommend a good french champagne. If you’re cooking for two, you could buy a half-bottle to share, or opt for an Australian sparkling wine for something more budget friendly.”
Chef Paul’s picks: “Louis Roederer or Dom Perignon (it’s Valentine’s Day – why not get fancy). “
Whoever thought of creating a meal before another meal was a true genius in our books. You don’t want to spend an hour sipping your drinks, waiting for the food to be ready, so keep it simple!
Chef Paul says: “You want to keep it fresh and light, stick with seafood or a vegetarian salad option. In The Garden at our Valentine’s Day Dinner this year, we’re serving a fig, goats curd and wattle leaf salad.”
“Oysters are also a great option, they create a feeling of decadence and will make your date feel special. If it’s someone you’re still getting to know, don’t risk it – oysters aren’t for everyone!”
This is the grand spectacle but also it should be something that doesn’t require a lot of prep. The last thing you’ll want is to be pulled away from your date while you’re enjoying their company, so opt for a dish you can prepare earlier in the day and cut out as much mid-date-kitchen-time as possible.
Chef Paul says: “If you’re going to do a meat, keep it simple and choose a really nice quality piece of steak. If you’d prefer to have something chilled and impressive, go for a lobster or a shellfish, something really fresh from the fish markets. You can even buy something that’s already cooked, so all you need to do is make a simple sauce or dressing to accompany it. Seafood is great because you can prep it the night before, which means less stress on the evening too.”
Who can forget dessert! The best way to score some extra ‘brownie’ points is a tasty treat to finish that sweetens the deal.
Chef Paul says, ”Keep it simple, play with a classic combination like fruit and chocolate. It doesn’t have to be too bling or fancy. Chocolate itself is a romantic thing – try chocolate dipped figs (another easy one you can prepare the day before).”
Chef Paul’s final tips:
“Keep it simple, don’t over work it. Garnish with fresh herbs, edible flowers, plate everything naturally, as if it looks like it has fallen on the plate (nothing needs to be symmetrical).”
You can’t go wrong with champagne, candles and lobster, but it doesn’t hurt to have a take-away menu on hand, just in case.
If you prefer to throw the towel in altogether and have us do the work for you, it’s not too late to make a reservation here.