Start with a round of drinks like you would in a restaurant (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The reopening of restaurants in May is some way off, so romantic meals indoors will have to continue on at home for now.
There are ways to elevate your usual dinner into a finer and fancier affair, whether you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary, or are just looking something to shift the monotony of lockdown life.
It’s all in the way you present the meal and doesn’t require you to even do the cooking if you decide to order in.
Here’s what you need to do to recreate the feel of a Michelin starred restaurant from the comfort of your home, according to Rebecca Snowden, interior style advisor at Furniture And Choice and Dimitri Marqueteau, front of house manager at Michelin starred restaurant Bohemia.
For a traditional romantic feel, the pair advise you use candles rather than harsh ceiling lights.
Rebecca says: ‘Candles go hand-in-hand with luxury thanks to the ambience they create when the lights are turned down low.
‘Placing as many as is safe around the dining room and on the table itself will help create a lovely atmosphere.’
However, Dimitri warns not to use scented ones as they ‘could distract from the food’ and alter the sensorial experience of what you’re tasting.
Setting the table
In order to make the table you dine at day-in-day-out feel special and new again, you need to ensure it looks different.
Dimitri suggests you get a clean white tablecloth and check it’s ‘creaseless’ to create the illusion of being somewhere else.
‘We achieve this by re-ironing them when laid on the table, it is the small attention to detail that will be noticed on special occasions.’
He also says you should hand polish cutlery so that everything feels elevated. Avoid using glasses with water stains too.
Usually fine dining spots have a clean aesthetic that is free of clutter, so make sure your table and surrounding space has that feel too.
Rebecca says: ‘When it comes to setting the table, keeping it simple is key for an elegant feel.
‘Avoid clutter in the room and try not to overcrowd the table so you have plenty of space while dining.
‘In particular, steer clear of any oversized statement centrepieces, as these can easily get in the way of you connecting with others across the table.’
Like you often would in a restaurant, start with drinks and take your time before getting to food.
Dimitri says: ‘Pre-dinner drinks are the perfect way to set the mood.
‘A date night is definitely the evening to drink better rather than more, so select wines you know you both like and push the boat out a bit price wise, to really feel a bit special.’
Or, if you don’t drink alcohol enjoy your own custom cocktail.
Cut down kitchen time
Partly why we love to eat out is to avoid cooking, so do your best to stay out of this room as much as possible.
Dimitri says: ‘Ensure the food you select is easy to prepare or can be prepared in advance as you don’t want to have to be getting up and cooking all night, rather than being able to talk and laugh together.
‘Consider the finish at home meal kits from top restaurants, to ensure the food is special, but simple to prepare so you and your partner can both enjoy your whole evening together.’
Spend time on all the things you’d normally do for a fancy meal out instead, such as getting dressed up.
Rebecca adds: ‘A date night is the perfect excuse to dress up and sit down to a lovingly cooked meal.’