Whether you are starting something new or are in a long term relationship, it can be hard to come up with something original. Yes, the city is full of restaurants, but what if you want to make more of your night together? For those in the first flush of courtship, adding an ice-breaker activity can take the pressure off those romantic meals for two. And for those settled with their amour - having two parts to your evening might add a frisson to proceedings and something new to talk about. So if you are continually stumped for ideas, Foodie has put together some date night pairings to help you shake things up.
Fans have dubbed Oscary "Pure paintertainment", so book a couple of hours at their cool studios to let your inner artist roam free. They set you up with a canvas and you can then paint with abandon. It's incredible satisfying, almost soothing, and a lovely way to brush away the stresses of the week - AND they let you bring wine. Then when you've finished comparing masterpieces, you can stroll to Bibo for a late dinner and muse about how you stand up to the artistic talent whose works adorn the walls.
Bibo - G/F, 163 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan
Oscary Art - S511, Block A, PMQ, 35, Aberdeen St., Central
Netflix & Chicken
Some Friday nights are meant for curling up and watching something trashy in your pajamas. Why not make the evening even more effortless by picking up a full roast dinner from La Rotisserie. These guys do a great deal where you can get a whole roast chicken and four sides for $260. You can add on chocolate cake and a wine to keep the good times rolling.
La Rotisserie - G/F, 33 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan; G/F, 71 Third Street, Sai Ying Pun; G/F, 19 Amoy Street, Wan Chai
Picnic & Mount Austin Park
There are very few things more romantic than a picnic - particularly when you've a beautifully stocked hamper and have arranged all the tiny details. Luckily, there's a place that can take care of that for you - Kennedy Town's aptly named Picnic. The guys can put together a range of Gallic and Italian delights in a darling box, as well as wine or champagne to add some fizz to your afternoon. Then you can just hop in a cab to your chosen spot. Admittedly, finding a quiet but accessible green spot in Hong Kong isn't easy, but gorgeous Mount Austin Park, a favourite for weddings shoots, is a good choice, that can be reached on foot or by car.
Picnic - Luen Fat Apartments, 38 Forbes Street
Impress your beau by heading completely off the beaten path to this up-and-coming HK neighbourhood. Hidden away in the industrial buildings are an array of restaurants, galleries, cafes and generally cool things that you'll want to investigate. Then after an afternoon exploring head to David Ibarbour's Briketenia for a taste of southern France. The tasting menu is incredibly reasonable at $598 per person, and they also do happy hour and afternoon tea deals.
Then finish the night with a gig at Hidden Agenda, one of the city's coolest music venues where you can see local and international talent perform everything from human beatboxing to death metal.
Briketenia - Shop B1, 1/F, TG Place, 10 Shing Yip StreetKwun Tong, Hong Kong
Hidden Agenda - 2A, Winful Industrial Bldg, 15-17 Tai Yip Street, Kwun Tong
This spot has done the 'pairing' for you. In Typhoon season, this bar-restaurant-miniclub is all you need for a cosy date night oblivious to the elements. High up in QRE Plaza, My House is the kind of spot you head to for post-work drinks and lose track of time (and cocktails) till you are stumbling out in the early hours. Think of that relaxed house party vibe, but instead of a messy student flat, this is a stylish space full of beautiful people. There are cozy booths, a vinyl record library, and DJs playing sets the old-school way -- with LPs. The fare is homely but done to a high standard with moreish plates such as octopus with garlic-lemon potato,chili and smoked paprika, spicy Italian sausage rigatoni, and the porcini-rubbed short rib. Be warned - the cocktails are potent, but you'll keep going back for more.
My House - 26/F, QRE Plaza, 202 Queen's Rd E, Wan Chai
Cycling and Canto Cuisine in Tai Po
Get the heart rate going with this waterfront cycle ride from Sha Tin to Tai Po. It's flat so no need to worry about embarrassing yourself with over exertion, but it's something different to impress outdoor types. Bikes can be hired at either end, but the best thing about finishing at Tai Po - is the assortment of eateries you can refuel at. Head to Yat Lok close to the market for its lush roast goose, which comes with soup noodles. It's their signature dish and even has the stamp of approval from French chef Anthony Bourdain who sampled it for a TV series. This barbecue joint has an array of meats in delicious sauces so this is definitely the place for a protein fix. Nearby there is also the Dor Lee Man, a vegetarian restaurant with Buddhist influences, their stewed aubergine and lotus root pancakes are excellent.
Yat Lok Barbecue Restaurant - G/F, Block A, Po Wah Building, 5 Tai Ming Lane, Tai Po
Dor Lee Man - G/F, 43 Po Heung Street, Tai Po
Think of this an evening of Yin and Yang - spend an hour or stretching, bending and generally boosting your well-being at Yoga BamBam, then when you are feeling suitably virtuous nip over to Cocotte and sink into delicious hedonism with rich dishes such as the wagyu beef steak, the steak tartare and the pan-seared whole pigeon. The cocktails and wine selection is excellent and the five portion cheese plate is unmissable.
Cocotte - 9 Shin Hing Street, Central
Yoga BamBam - 10 Shin Hing Street, CentralThe Optimist
Brunch & Wander
Wake up early and take in old Hong Kong traditions, before indulging in a relatively new one - the free-flow brunch. Now the temperature is rising it is best to amble around the city streets before the crowds and traffic really add to the mix. Wan Chai - one of the city's earliest settlements - has a great heritage trail (that takes you well clear of it's darker 'playboy' side which looks even more pitiful in the morning) where you can stop by historic buildings including the beautiful Blue, Green and Yellow Houses that show different bursts of the past, Pak Tai Temple, and The Pawn. Then reward yourself at The Optimist with their dazzling weekend brunch. The semi-buffet style means you get multiple tastes of Spain without appearing a glutton in front of your paramour, while the produce and main course menu has enough to impress.
The Optimist - 239 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai
* For more musings from LTThomas on food, travel and general #wanderlustforlife, please visit www.mylittleshopoftreasures.com.