Mysinglefriend.com has a lot to answer for. This website has claimed too many of my friends. A spate have lost successive evenings to serial dating and revealing what they do for a living. And though a few have found themselves embroiled in unlikely situations, I cannot knock it. One has already found love. Many, flagrant embrace.
For the not-so-lucky in those incipient stages of datehood (juggling five dates a week, perhaps even two a day), innovative thinking is required for each date.
My suggestion would be Gelupo, in Soho, as the place to take a date.
It’s an ice-cream parlour - but Italian. Which means it's actually a gelateria - less schmaltz, gaudy colours, and cherries on top than your average parlour. And ice-cream is a safe bet - take your date on the premise that everybody likes ice-cream.
Teetotal date? Chocolate sorbet it is. Loves booze? Chocolate and Grand Marnier then. Vegetarian, or dare I say it - vegan? Well, let’s just say there is a flavour for everyone. For, Gelupo’s sorbets are as rich as as egg custard and cream without them comprising of egg custard or cream.
And as if that wasn’t enough, it’s across the street from brilliant sister restaurant Bocca di Lupo, well-wishing your date with its name which fortuitously translates as ‘good luck’.
Ask to taste. That’s the perk.
Gelupo, who make all gelati on the premises, are so proud of their flavours, they will urge you to try them. Chocolate sorbet sounds an anomaly - almost a paradox. The expectation is of something watery and one dimensional, but no. The sorbet is of a rich sort, made from 100% cocoa and sugar and is positively creamy. Their white peach sorbet will take you back to the heat of Venice (think Bellinis of ripe white peaches and Prosecco). The gelato of pear, cinnamon and ricotta is a sweet taste of autumn. Burnt almond granita, which I have to order on fellow tweeter Dinehard’s insistence, is a triumph. The raspberry sorbet is juicy and ripe, the ricotta and sour cherry ripple gelato is especially good fresh from the churn and in a huge waffle cone. My only regret is that I could not taste the naughty milk-infused fig-leaf ice cream as I'd not arrived in time.
In the case that you and your date get on well, the gelateria is open until 1am from Thursday to Saturday. If you do run out of things to say to each other, let me suggest a perusal of the amazing Italian produce on offer at the back of the shop. I defy anyone to lack conversation whilst looking at the refrigerated octopus.
And Gelupo have recently announced that they will be launching an online ordering service. Which means for true love there will be only one thing for it: home delivery of the fig-leaf variety.
7 Archer Street, London, W1D 7AU