Romantic dining, lively parties and more great ideas for February 14, 2013
Time Out Bahrain staff
Historically February 14 marks the death of early Christian martyr Valentinus (St Valentine) but these days it’s known as the most romantic day of the year and we’ve rounded up the best Valentine’s date nights to meet every taste and budget.
We’ve also got Valentine’s trivia (in case you happen to be quizzing that night), couples who met in unusual circumstances, cooking for lovers, a fun seminar and even some stuff to keep the singlies happy.
Déjà Vu Lounge: Valentine’s Day special three-course menu at BD24 per couple. There’s live music and ladies get a special Valentine’s gift bag. Call (13 657 770).
Diplomat Radisson Blu: ‘If you like it put a ring on it’ party at the Kontiki poolside including a special ‘love cocktail’ or grape and snacks. DJ Ram will get people on their feet and there’ll be special entertainments during the night aimed at getting people socialising in line with the theme (we’re thinking pass the balloon but that’s probably just us). BD7 per person.
Mondo Italian restaurant is offering a welcome rose for the ladies on arrival plus a five-course menu, two complimentary flutes of bubbly and a sweetheart to take home all for BD26++. Plus there’s also an overnight package including breakfast in bed. Call (17 531 666)
Elite Group:Shift 7 at the Elite Resort & Spa will turn red in keeping with the colour of the day and lovers can enjoy a selection of savoury goodies as they take in the spectacular scenic view from the 14th floor. Call (17 313 333).
Waikiki has a candle-lit dinner beneath the stars at BD25 per couple. Call (17 313 333).
At Klub 360 at the Elite Crystal Hotel each couple will receive free glasses of bubbly on arrival, ladies can indulge in chocolate- dipped strawberries all night long (not sure how they’re going to stop the boys pinching them though) and there’ll be lots of love songs plus prizes for the best-dressed couple. Call (33 360 300).
At Zodiac Lounge at the Elite Grand ladies in red will receive a red rose and there’s a special menu including raspberry bubbles, hearts of tomato, passion fruit granitee, Valentine salmon and engagement chocolate mousse, whatever that might be, all for BD30 per couple. Call (17 565 888).
Lovers will be serenaded by houseband Bossalee Nova at Il Giardino at Elite Seef Residence where there’ll be a four-course set menu with a bottle of house grape, a red rose for the ladies and a red cuddly toy, all for BD25 per couple. Call (36 020 733).
Flamingo Bar at theMövenpick: A bit of an odd one this but we’re really rather liking the sound of it. The night opens with romantic ballads from the European band, chef Alfred’s created a special Valentine’s five-course menu and mid-way through the evening there’s stand-up comedy from local favourite Ali Fingerz all for BD24.9++ per person. Call (17 460 000
Gulf Hotel:There are various offers across the Gulf’s many venues. Say I love you with an intimate candle-lit dinner at Fusions with the soulful tunes of love and an enthralling couple’s quiz to spice up the mood. Set menu and glass of sparkling at BD 56++ per couple.
Or be an Italian Valentine at La Pergola with a seductive menu and music for star-crossed lovers at BD50++ per couple including a glass of bubbly.
Heat things up at Margarita Mexicana where they have the music, the mood, the spicy food, just one thing missing…you.
Live music from the Mexican trio with a glass of sparkling thrown in at BD48++ per couple. Call (17 713 000).
Hard Rock Café: There’s a special lovers’menu, free flowers for all the ladies, selected drink offers and live music from band Rock’n’Soul down in Exhibition Road. Call (17 291 569).
Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre: Rose petals, scented candles, romantic movies on a private screen, delectable bites from a special menu, five-star service and the intimate privacy of your own dining pod… it was our romantic restaurant of the year because of these pods but there are only five to choose from so if you fancy a bit of romance in the heart of the city, you need to get in early. They cost BD120 per couple which has to be paid in advance. Saveur also has romance in mind with a four-course menu and candles, roses and love songs by musical duo Lelane & Jamelo at BD25++. Call (17 171 000). La Fontaine: There’ll be a special menu created by a visiting Michelin-starred chef (running throughout February) at BD15 for lunch and BD20 for dinner.
The night itself will have a Greek mythology theme, complete with statue of Erotas, son of Venus, put together by visiting specialist therapist Marianna Menti. Call (17 230 123).
Maki: Our Japanese favourite’s monthly 15 Magical Moments falls on Valentine’s night giving the chance to sample 15 dishes from the menu plus grape pairings, with some lush new options included.
Each month the chefs brainstorm to come up with two or three new combinations such as a pioneering product that incorporates encapsulated extra virgin olive oil with green spinach wraps and seafood, with vegetable ingredients. The result: the Caviaroli Maki. Fresh warm sushi rice, wrapped inside a tasty, spinach wrap and filled with succulent shrimp tempura and crabstick, along with fresh avocado sprinkled with special spices and topped off with a spoon of olive oil caviar. The food of love indeed. Call (17 522 733).
Muju at the Dragon Hotel: We must admit, the view at Muju gives it a real edge when it comes to romance. Just holding hands and looking out at the lights twinkling on the water at Amwaj makes us go all gooey not to mention the dreamy live jazz. For Valentine’s they’ve got a five-course dinner with unlimited beverages at BD100 per couple or pay an extra BD50, book a room for the night and wake up to the sound of waves gently lapping the shore. Call (16 033 833)
Ramee California:Club Buffalo has a special Lucky in Love Valentine weekend party running over Thu and Fri, Feb 14 and 15, with live band Deluxe plus a DJ and unlimited drinks for couples at BD30 or singles at BD20. There’s also a gala buffet dinner package at BD14.9 for two and on Friday a three-course dinner at BD14 each with a glass of grape thrown in. There are similar offers in Bed Rock for the Red Rush Valentine’s party on Feb 14 and Valentino and Bollywood both have live performers and food and drinks deals. Call Buffalo (33 731 000), Bed Rock (36 131 020).
Ritz-Carlton: Push the boat out with the ‘Passionate Valentine’s Package’. Dining at either Plums or Primavera, you’ll be picked up in the personalised luxurious white Rolls Royce limousine with a wonderful bouquet of roses and the Ritz Gourmet Lounge famous chocolates. Enjoy a glass of French bubbles during the trip to the hotel then sit down to a four-course dinner with selected wines all at BD185++ per person – must be booked in advance.
There are also special offers across the hotel’s other venues. Spice it up at award-winning Indian restaurant Nirvana with a four-course set menu at BD22++ per person.
La Med has a special Valentine’s Day buffet including classic seafood favourites, sushi and lovers’ desserts at BD20++ per person.
Spoil your loved one with some of the best steaks in town at Plums for BD30++ per person including a glass of sparkling or a mimosa.
Or head to Primavera to celebrate in Italian style with a special four-course menu with a glass of bubbly or a mimosa at BD30++ per person.
Restaurant diners will also get a gift of chocolates and roses. Call (17 586 499).
Royal Golf Club: Links restaurant has a four-course dinner menu including his and hers ‘amuse bouche’ and a range of appetisers, mains and desserts while enjoying the live romantic music and spectacular views across floodlit golf greens and lakes. BD36 per person will also get you a rose for the ladies and welcome drinks all round. Call (17 751 262).
Sheraton:Soie Chinese restaurant has a four-course Valentine’s set menu at BD18.5++ per person or BD22++ including a half bottle of house grape. Ladies will get heart-shaped chocolates and roses to mark the day. There’ll also be a Valentine-themed lunch and dinner buffet at the hotel’s Al Safir restaurant. Call (17 533 533).
Sofitel: Seafood lovers will find a Valentine’s treat at La Mer, look out over the waves as you’re gently serenaded by violin and sax and enjoy what we reckon is some of the very best seafood on the island. There’s a set menu at BD58 per couple including a bottle of house grape. At Fiamma, there are Italian delicacies and live Italian music at BD48 per couple including a bottle of grape.
And, this has to be one of our favourites, as long as the wind has died down, get in early and book dinner for two under the stars with a tented canopy on the beach. The price is BD175++ for a set menu for two including a bottle of bubbly and there are only eight tents so book early.
Lots of the other Sofitel venues also have special Valentine’s deals on ranging from an exotic two-person platter and a glass of house grape at BD15 per couple at Amber Lounge to the Asian set menu with a bottle of grape at Wok for BD44++. Call (17 636 363).
If music be the food of love…
Jo and James You may know this pair as the singer and guitarist of JJ’s house band The Noise, or through their acoustic sessions at Camelot but if they’d listened to their heads, they might never have got together at all. Jo explained: “James came and stood in as a drummer for my old band in November 2009 and we instantly fell for each other. We flirted and texted for a few months but didn’t do anything about it as we had set up a duo and band together and were thinking ‘never mix the two’. We spent six months not being a couple but gave in around June 2010 and we’ve been together ever since. We’ve done well as we’re always together.”
The way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach!
Julian and Angella This pair met seven years ago at a Christmas party in London. Julian was making sausage rolls, a task he had been assigned by his friends as it was relatively easy to do.
Angella came to the party looking for ideas for her own Christmas bash – luckily for Julian her mother had told her all good parties need sausage rolls.
Angella recalls: “I saw Julian in the kitchen covered in flour and sausage meat and figured if he was making sausage rolls here he could do it at my party too.”
He duly attended Angella’s party then flew out to join her in New York for New Year’s Eve. Party catering has played a large part in their relationship ever since; Julian even made sausage rolls for guests at their wedding in Australia and arranged all the catering for their second wedding celebration in England, including hiring an ice cream van so he could serve Angella her favourite cold dessert.
Fit for love
Paul and Gill In 2005, Paul moved to Staffordshire to start a new job as health club manager in Stoke.
Gill was an active member working out every day and attending some of Paul’s classes but the pair kept the relationship strictly business like until they got chatting at a club social function.
Paul says: “I had always secretly fancied Gill and plucked up the courage to ask her on a date.” The relationship blossomed over the next two years and by the time they set up home together in 2007, Gill had left her job and trained to become a personal trainer.
Paul changed jobs, and his first action as manager of a new health club, was to employ Gill. He was the boss at work but says Gill definitely wore the trousers at home’!
In early 2008, the couple moved to Bahrain, to open a new health club in Manama. They fell in love with the island and got married here, by the sea at Novotel in 2009.
Romance in the kitchen…cooking classes for Valentine’s Day
Guys Attention all men: surprise your significant other this Valentine’s Day with an impressive four-course gourmet menu from your own kitchen! Learn how to cook a full meal that will delight any woman from the talented chefs at Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre, who promise uncomplicated ingredients and simple techniques that even cooking-challenged men can master.
Girls Team up with the hotel’s dedicated pastry team, led by pastry chef Clement Raybaud, and learn how to indulge your significant other’s sweet tooth this Valentine’s Day with romantic cakes and sweets perfect for this occasion which you can personalise. Both classes Sat, Feb 6, 3-6pm, Baharat, Kempinski Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre. Price BD25. Call (17 171 000).
• The ancient Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia on February 14 in honour of Juno, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. Juno was also the goddess of women and marriage.
• Many believe the ‘X’ symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. People who couldn’t write their names signed in front of a witness with an ‘X.’ The ‘X’ was then kissed to show their sincerity.
• In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve”.
• In 1537, England’s King Henry VII officially declared February 14 as St Valentine’s Day.
• The red rose was the favourite flower of Venus, Roman goddess of love.
• 189 million stems of roses are sold in the USA on Valentine’s Day.
• 73 per cent of people who buy flowers for Valentine’s Day are men.
• 15 per cent of American women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.
• Approximately one billion Valentines are sent out worldwide each year according to estimates by the US Greeting Card Association. That’s second only to Christmas.
• Women purchase approximately 85 per cent of all Valentines.
• Teachers will receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, sweethearts and pets.
• About three per cent of pet owners will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets.
• Every Valentine’s Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet. Taken from the website www.sheknows.com.
Sweets for my sweet
• Casanova, well known as ‘The World’s Greatest Lover’, ate chocolate to make him virile.
• Physicians of the 1800s commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.
• Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in the late 1800s.
• More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine’s Day.
• In the USA more than $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased for Valentine’s Day each year!
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
It’s not on Valentine’s Day but we reckon this relationships seminar with counsellor and author John Gray definitely belongs in this feature.
Go alone or as part of a couple or maybe find out why you’re still single (or possibly about to be!). Gray’s seminal book deals with the differences between the sexes and how we can work towards overcoming them in our own relationships, both romantic and every day. Wed, Feb 20, Diplomat Radisson Blu. From BD60 per person or BD120 per couple. Call (38 822 182).
Single and lovin' it
One for the girls Warm your heart in a new way this Valentine’s Day as World Beat Fitness Centre gets down on the dance floor (well the studio actually) to support women affected by violence worldwide. Make a difference by learning a dance routine that will be performed in malls, plazas, stadiums and dancehalls around the world on V-Day. Participants will learn the moves, broken down in easy-to-follow sequences, and then start dancing, uniting globally with those who are saying ‘No’ to violence against women. All welcome, no dance experience necessary. Thu, Feb 14, World Beat Fitness Centre, Janabiya. Cost is BD8 for members and BD10 for non-members with a portion of the proceeds going to the cause. Call (17 612 576).
Where there’s girls… Kicks has karaoke and two for one on selected drinks – think Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend’s Wedding, everyone loved her even more after her excruciating performance. So remember, it’s not about really sounding like your idol, it’s about having fun! Kicks, Diva Hotel, Jufffair. Call (17 810 555).
Bushido continues its Geisha nights with free drinks for the girls and the guys can get in on the act with free booking on tables for mixed groups before 6pm (usually minimum spend of BD30 applies). Bushido, Seef. Call (17 583 555).
There are also lots of other ladies’ nights and deals so make sure to check out our ladies’ nights listings – and where there are girls, there are sure to be boys!
One for the boys Well not just for the boys but we’re guessing there won’t be too many lovey dovey couples cluttering up the VIVA Karting Track at the BIC on Valentine’s Day.
Get together a group of mates and book an evening’s racing.
The Mini Grand Prix is a sprint race package that includes three different sessions. All participants take part in the practice/qualifying, as well as the two racing sessions. The whole thing runs from 10.30pm till around midnight and there’s a fun restaurant where you can grab a pizza and make an evening of it.
Race results and lap timings are measured with an F1-style timing system and displayed on LCD screens throughout the facilities with printouts handed out to all participants.
This package is designed for groups of 10 to 25 and the price is BD25 per person. Call (17 451 988).