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We Try London’s New, Aphrodisiac Wine Pairing Menu

Hannah Crosbie and Chef Fabio

Wine oracle Hannah Crosbie and Head Chef, Fabio De Paolis have made a food baby together for Valentine’s, in the shape of an aphrodisiac-addled, six-course wine pairing menu.

We head to Hithe + Seek to try it out. As the name suggests, the restaurant is hidden away on the third floor of The Westin London Hotel. But it’s worth the search around this City patch, where we discover a softly lit, luxe restaurant and take our seats in a soft teal sofa, directly in front of its floor-to-ceiling windows, with panoramic views across Shakespeare's Globe, Tate Modern and the city lights, twinkling along the Thames.

romantic dinner

The first cocktail arrives - it’s a fruity, potent mix of vodka, Balfour sparkling wine, raspberry and lime, which means business. It’s called Dalston Clover Club and is named after its creator, Hannah Crosbie’s first love, Dalston Wine Club, which she created to make wine drinking more inclusive.

This is swiftly followed by a crisp glass of Taittinger Nocturne Champagne, to pair with the "Catfish" dish - these are moreish, torched king oyster mushrooms, designed to ape scallops and served with oyster leaf and parsnip puree.


All dishes come in one, trendily shaped bowl to share with your partner - well, it is Valentine’s and I guess dates can catch worse things than a cold.

Next, comes a fresh, Balfour Skye’s Chardonnay paired with a sea bass sharing dish, which comes with a champagne granita, topped with basil crumble.

white wine and food

The pear and apple flavours of the Vavasour Pinot Gris marry beautifully with the langoustine and smoked cheese risotto, and my partner and I battle forks for mouthfuls of it, beneath its pretty, citrus bisque foam.

The stand out dish comes next, a rich, pork tenderloin, with sweet potato mash, blueberry jus and “chicharron” which is posh for “pork scratchings.” This is perfect with one of the few reds of the evening, the Gigondas Chapoutier.

pork tenderloin and red wine

Another highlight follows, in the shape of mini, lamb shish with mint tzatziki and padron pepper, washed down with a medium bodied, Frappata.

A glittery chocolate sphere is the sweet climax to the experience. We smash it to reveal a suitably seductive, chilli and mango mousse. The “edible rose petals” scattered around it err too far on the side of potpourri for our chops, but look pleasing. It's paired with a sweet, Ruffino Serelle Vin Santo dessert wine.

chocolate dessert

Hannah and Chef Fabio are equally sweet and pop around the tables to chat during the tasting session. They’re rightly proud of their Bacchanalian union and their passion is at the heart of this Valentine’s experience.

Hithe + Seek60 Upper Thames St, London EC4V 3AD . 8 February - 2 March. £99pp

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