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(If it’s a no, neighbour The Grafton Arms can supply the necessary hard liquor).Selin Kiazim and Laura Christie’s second modern Turkish-Cypriot restaurant is a touch plusher than Oklava, with burnt-orange banquette seating, navy walls and lots of warm wood — Roger and Joan from Is there a better backdrop than Old Soho for the beginning (or, indeed, the end) of an affair?Just remember: shareable dishes can be very romantic, but only if there really is enough for two on the plate.
Start with sourdough from Little Bread Pedlar and Tuscan cured meats with pickles, then move onto orecchiette in wild garlic sauce with cured egg yolk.
Since it opened in 2017 this neighbourhood restaurant has been quietly going about its business, serving stylish but substantial plates (homemade fettuccine, asparagus and pesto; poached pear with ganache) in a room that’s more than a touch #Accidentally Wes Anderson.
The truffle chips lend themselves to a bit of knowing finger-licking, while the mid-century jazz and blues playlist is spot on. If it’s a yes, glasses of preserved-lemon fizz for everyone!
The Northern Chinese-focused menu is a jaw-dropper too, with plenty of shareable dishes (Shandong shredded chicken with homemade butterfly buns; whole crispy seabass) and one of the city’s best dim sum selections (think Iberico pork xiao long bao, bean-curd rolls with monkfish and black truffle and shiitake buns). The pavilion housing Crispin, which apparent represents “an origami-folded kite or bird”, is definitely a talking point.
While undeniably delicious, the Sichuan-style deep-fried lobster — served with chilli, black beans and enough garlic to empty Transylvania — would be a bold first-date choice. Ultra-modern exterior aside, it’s a winningly cosy little spot, with just a handful of tables.