Strand Palace Hotel’s Valentines Special

Valentine’s Day always sees restaurants preparing special menus for loved-up couples. Johnston’s Brasserie in The Strand Palace Hotel is no exception, but they’ve gone one better: instead of hyping February 14 up as the most romantic day of the year, they’ve chosen to donate 12.5% from all dinners to Ovarian Cancer Action, the UK’s leading ovarian cancer charity. A pretty wonderful thing to do really, given that hotel restaurants must do brilliantly on Valentine’s Day.

I popped along to Johnston’s Brasserie to see exactly how good the food was. I have high standards for hotel restaurants, particularly those in fairly posh hotels. Luckily I wasn’t disappointed. The restaurant is cosy and well decorated, the service friendly and attentive – without being intrusive – and the food…oh the food.

The Valentine’s Day menu, which runs this weekend (February 13 to 15) involves either two courses for £14.50 or three for £16.50 – an absolute bargain by any central London standards. It is rather endearingly made up of slushily romantic dishes: ‘Two Heart Risotto’ and ‘Crazy Love Grilled Chicken Breast’ – you get the idea. But given the general yumminess of the food produced here, you can overlook the schmaltz.

I had a crayfish oriental salad as a starter, lamb chump with confit red cabbage and strawberry sauce for main, and a really gorgeous chocolate truffle with raspberry sorbet for dessert; all beautifully presented and tasty.

There was a good range on the menu, and even the a la carte food was very decently priced. They also have a ‘Wine Crunch’ deal which includes a bottle of house red or white for £9.99. Who said Valentine’s has to wipe out your bank account?

Let’s face it, as much as we all moan about the over-hyped, commercial and downright pointless nature of Valentine’s Day, the fact remains that if you do nothing for it then you end up feeling quite ashamedly bah-humbug about the whole thing. So you may as well embrace it, go for dinner, gaze lovingly into your partner’s eyes, and know that in doing so you’ve helped a wonderful charity.

Johnston’s Brasserie
The Strand Palace Hotel
372 The Strand
Covent Garden

Reservations: 020 7497 4185

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