Despite having been together for six years, WB and I have never once actually spent Valentine’s Day together. This isn’t really an enormous deal to us: neither of us really have an opinion on Valentine’s Day, but if we were forced to choose a side, we’d probably be in the “it’s a corporatist holiday designed to sell flowers and chocolate” camp. But still – it’s kind of weird that we’ve never even been with each other by coincidence on Valentine’s Day.
The first Valentine’s Day of our relationship was one month in. Our high school had a snow day, and having my mother meant you went to school anyway. WB, however, took a bus, meaning his transportation to school was out of commission. So there I was, with all the lovebirds who had dragged themselves through the snow so they could make sure their sweethearts got the carnation flowers they had bought from the school tuck shop for $1 surround me, alone. The day went by without so much as a “hello” from WB, and though ahead of time we had never actually planned to do anything, and I had never really thought Valentine’s Day was important to me, I still had hoped for at least a hug and a cursory “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Turns out, WB and his friends had a snow day tradition of playing board games together, and snow day tradition trumps girlfriends on Valentine’s Day.
No, I’m not bitter. Why do you ask?
Anyway, then began four years of long-distance relationship. So long story short, here we were at our first V-Day together without any heartful gestures or grand plans.
It’d been not quite a month since we moved flats, and while Stockwell has its charms, like the guy singing (literally) Jesus’ praises outside the tube station in the morning and the footballers hurling insults at each other outside our window 24-hours a day, we missed our former neighbourhood – the quiet, quaint and almost-posh Parsons Green – and our local pub there, The Duke on the Green. So off we went to celebrate V-Day.
THE DUKE ON THE GREEN
We suspect that the Duke has changed hands or chefs recently, as the menu which used to change fairly regularly, has reached a standstill, or at least the variations on offer aren’t varied enough to detect a real difference. The options for the “Wine and Dine” deal – £20 for two mains and a bottle of wine – have narrowed, as well. Our usual selection of red was no longer on offer for the deal, but what we had was hardly undrinkable and perfectly satisfactory.
I had salmon with potatoes smashed with basil and tomato; the little dots are pesto and the sunbursts a red pepperish kind of sauce. The salmon was just fine: could have been cooked a bit less. The smashed potatoes were quite nice: they didn’t have the heaviness of mash, and instead tasted quite light and refreshing, which feels like an odd thing to say about potatoes.
WB had a rump steak with mash, greens and jus.
WB says: This is actually a surprise as many of the meals at the Duke lately haven’t been as good as they were when we first arrived. It was quite good: the meat was juicy and pink, and the mash and jus was very comforting.
Overall, not a disappointment and a relaxing way to spend the evening.
Duke on the Green website
235 New Kings Road, Fulham
London SW6 4XG
020 7736 2777 | email@example.com
After our meal, we headed over to Mao Tai, a restaurant/cocktail bar WB had been nagging me to try every since I arrived in Merry Old England.
I can’t vouch for the food (they serve South East Asian cuisine with an emphasis on China), as we did not partake: we came for the cocktails.
I had a variation on a whiskey sour in my effort to become a “whiskey drinker” by the end of my time in the UK. I quite enjoyed the sour – the snappy froth and sour syrup certainly did overpower the smoky whiskey taste – but for me, drinking neat whiskey is going to be a trial. However, with trips to Ireland and Scotland on the horizon, I am hoping my taste will develop soon.
WB had a margarita which was great: fresh and tart, not too sweet and smacking of tequila. I still think my Dad’s are better though!
The drinks were expensive, but we quickly realised this was because they are huge and don’t attempt to save money by watering down the liquor with soda and ice. After half a bottle of wine and one whiskey sour, I was ready for sleep.
Mao Tai website
58 New Kings Road, Fulham
London SW6 4LS
020 7731 2520 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope everyone had a lovely February 14th, whether they celebrated V-Day or not!