Cynicism be gone! Valentine’s Day may not have the sentimental glow it once had thanks to excessive commercialisation, but no matter how you view the annual celebration of love you’re guaranteed to find some incredibly sweet and thoughtful events as restaurants, bars and hotels bring out their finest ideas. Because we’re a helpful bunch, we’ve put together some of our top picks across Melbourne and Sydney for anyone fresh out of ideas (or overwhelmed by choice), with four events each city. Check them out below and start planning a big one for February 14th, whether that be for a partner, friends, or family.
O’Connell’s (South Melbourne)
Local South Melbourne favourite O’Connell’s will be your go-to for a elegant Valentine’s Day dinner, designed by Head Chef Tom Brockbank, to either start of end your night right. On offer at this beloved award-winning pub will be a special two-course menu going for $65pp with a glass of Chandon each for good measure. A selection of the chef’s favourite snacks (think smoked salmon blini with caviar, and wild rice with cured kangaroo and native pepper) will help kick it all off, following by a main with the choice between a meaty dry aged rump cap served with tobacco onions, leek and wild mushrooms, or a rich lobster ravioli with salsa verde, thermidor sauce, fennel and parsley oil. Dessert will feature two choices as well, offering either a decadent chocolate torte with fleuttine crunch, amaretto ice cream, vanilla panna cotta, and crème patissiere, or a special strawberries and Champagne inspired treat with strawberry textures, raspberry granita, rose ice cream and Champagne jelly.
If you’re looking for a simple dinner out then it’s be hard to look past this one. You can make reservations now over at the official O’Connell’s website HERE
407 Coventry St, South Melbourne | 9810 0086
Middle Park Hotel (Middle Park)
Spend Valentine’s Day at the charming, old-world Middle Park Hotel and make a night of it by spending the night at the boutique hotel after dinner in the restaurant. The hotel is offering one of the most accessible dinner menus in the area, with a four-course meal going for $75pp with a glass of sparkling on arrival.
Canapés like truffled mushroom bruschetta and natural oysters with rose granita will kick the night off before the likes of prosciutto-wrapped stuffed chicken ballantine for entrée, with a vegetarian option available on request. Mains feature a choice of either a hearty 300g striploin with smoked garlic, rosemary, mash and seasonal veggies, barramundi with caponata, and spring onion on parsnip puree, or a summer green risotto folded with snow pea and charred asparagus, while dessert is a indulgent, highly shareable chocolate assiette served with strawberries and cream.
Follow that up with an overnight stay at one of the suites upstairs and you’ve just won Valentine’s Day. For more details and booking information head to the official Middle Park Hotel website HERE
102 Canterbury Road, Middle Park | 9810 0079
Atta (Albert Park)
Valentine’s Day is as good an excuse as any to check out a new restaurant and possibly end up with a new favourite. Put Albert Park’s newest contemporary Indian restaurant on that radar because they’ll be offering a generous five-course meal on the day with a glass of prosecco on arrival for an affordable $85 per person. In addition to a specially created limited-edition dessert consisting of a blueberry kulfi and white chocolate sphere, diners will be able to choose from the likes of Sikandari Raan, braised leg of lamb, sous vide Dutch carrots, cumin potatoes and mint chutney, Tandoori Paneer and Murgh Makhani with succulent tandoori chicken, spices and a tomato gravy, and a few other select options.
If that sounds more up your alley head on over to the restaurant’s website HERE.
159-161 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park | 9696 3388
Yagiz (South Yarra)
In the mood for Turkish food? Murat Ovaz, the very talented head chef over at Yagiz has put together a six-course degustation priced at $85pp (wine pairing bumps that up to $250 per couple). Open from 6pm, the restaurant is promising a “unique sensory experience” for the day and those who choose the wine pairing option are in for an extra special treat seeing as the tightly curated list highlights some very tempting boutique Turkish varietals.
For more information and to make a booking head to the restaurant’s website HERE.
22 Toorak Road, South Yarra | 9821 4758
Pullman Quay Grand (Circular Quay)
As if the view from the top of this impeccably located property isn’t enough to tempt lovebirds to go all out for Valentine’s Day, Pullman Quay Grand are making this year’s offering too sweet to resist with a few different packages to suit tastes and budgets. At the top, you’ve got the “Ultimate Romance Package” which includes a stay at the five-star hotel in a premium one bedroom Harbour View room as well as a three course dinner with a bottle of champagne served to guests’ hotel room, a three hour private butler service, and breakfast for 2 the following day in Q Dining. That one’s for the baller couple at $1,199.
For the more affordable option, check out “Dinner with a View” which features a three-course meal at Q Dining plus a glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc and a rose on arrival. It’s worth it for that view alone, but the menu looks quite good too; think entrees like seared scallops with pork belly, green apple, wood ear mushrooms and cider glaze; mains like grilled grain fed black angus tenderloin with smoked onion, braised mushroom, lemon thyme and bone marrow pangrattato; and a shared dessert plate with mini chocolate fondant, opera cake, coffee truffle, and raspberry sorbet. The dinner is priced at $119 per person.
To book either package just give the hotel a call on the number listed below, and for more information visit their official website HERE
61 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay | 9256 4000
If you’re looking to spend Valentine’s Day near the beach then look no further than one of the best beachside restaurants in Sydney. Contemporary Asian gem Sugarcane are doing up a special set menu to be offered on the day so you can pair what will no doubt be a very satisfying feast with a few hours on Coogee’s golden sands. Owner and chef Milan Strbac has put together a menu priced at $80 with a what’s what of the kitchen’s best, including (but not limited to) rice cake with prawn, coriander and rujak dressing; Atlantic salmon with Japanese pear and soy reduction; crispy chicken with blood plum sauce; a gulai curry of eggplant, okra and cherry tomatoes; and a dessert of organic strawberries, milk chocolate and salted caramel.
That’s some serious eating right there so if you feel like Valentine’s Day is best spent stuffing your face head on over to Sugarcane’s official website and make a booking for February 14th HERE
Shop 1, 56 Carr Street, Coogee | 8313 9790
Della Hyde (Darlinghurst)
Classic romance will be swirling around Darlinghurst favourite Della Hyde as Applejack Hospitality transform their ‘good time’ underground bar into an intimate hideaway cinema for Valentine’s Day. Kicking off at 7:30pm (doors opening 5pm) on Wednesday 14th February, the stylish and spacious bar will host a screening of cult classic rom-com Notting Hill on a big screen set up in front of a spread of bean bags and various other seating.
The 1999 BAFTA-winning classic, which stars Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in some of their most memorable roles, is known for being the most quintessential romantic comedy of our time and if you pair those feels up with comfort food and espresso martinis then you’ve got yourself a sure-shot winner as far as unpretentious, affordable and untraditional Valentine’s Day events go.
The kitchen will be slinging up plenty of chicken wings, which will be going for $1 each alongside the usual menu (think beer brisket quesadillas, grilled haloumi, mac ‘n’ cheese balls, and Peking duck spring rolls) and drinks list, which is a regular go-to for the city’s discerning cocktail lovers with playful, seasonally fresh concoctions and weekly specials. For Valentine’s Day, they’ll be dropping the price of their fan-favourite Espresso Martinis to just $12, which should pair nicely with the bottomless popcorn.
Whether it’s a kick-off, kick-on, or the main event, it makes perfect sense to spend the most romantic day of the year hiding away at one of the city’s most beloved underground bars, indulging in one of the greatest stories about love against all odds ever told with some very fine company and some very delicious food and drink.
Tickets range from $10 (for general admission plus bottomless popcorn) to $35 (for front row bean bags, bottomless popcorn and a drink on arrival) per person. For full ticketing details and more information head to the official Della Hyde website HERE. General entry to the bar on the night is free.
34 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst | 9331 5434
Sheraton on the Park (CBD)
One of Sydney’s most highly regarded hotels will be making full use of their numerous food and drink outlets for Valentine’s Day, as well as offering a special little something at their fabulous spa. The hungriest amongst us should look to the hotel’s award-winning seafood buffet at Feast Restaurant, which will be stacked to the heavens with Australian lobster, oysters, Morton bugs, prime beef and plenty of other top produce alongside a dedicated dessert station. Anyone heading along will get a complimentary glass of Chandon, whether it be for the lunch or dinner session. High Tea lovers should look towards The Gallery, the property’s lobby-level venue which on Feb 14th will feature a seafood tower with oysters, king prawns, caviar, crab and other produce. Sessions will include two glasses of Domain Chandon.
There’s plenty of other specials happening all throughout the property so make sure you grab the full details over at the hotel’s official website HERE.
161 Elizabeth Street, Sydney | 1800 073 535