We’re all different: while some of us would rather dine with Donald Trump than field a marriage proposal in a packed restaurant, for self-proclaimed foodies it can be the most romantic gesture on Earth. We asked the staff at some of London's swankiest restaurants for their best proposal stories.
In his post as GM of three Michelin-starred Le Gavroche, Emanuel Landré has seen it all. ‘We often bring out the ring as a course,’ he says. ‘We’ll take the box into the kitchen and place it in a prettily folded napkin; it’s then covered with a silver cloche, and when it’s time, the waiters bring over the gentleman’s meal and the lady’s ring, and remove both cloches at the same time. Then come the tears, and a glass of champagne on the house.’
Okay Emmanuel – but has anyone ever eaten the ring? ‘No, but a regular of ours proposed using our dessert selection,’ he says. ‘It’s a very big plate that normally has seven desserts on it, and we put the ring in with one of the desserts. The gentleman had been telling her all night how wonderful this dessert was, and she dug right in without noticing the ring was there!’ Gulp.
Despite having notched up decades in the trade, Le Gavroche’s staff agree that the most memorable proposal was just last year – perhaps thanks to the cliffhanger suspense involved. ‘A gentleman pushed the table out as if he was going to leave and then all of a sudden got down on one knee,’ explains Emmanuel. ‘It was instantly obvious to everyone what he was doing and the entire restaurant started clapping and cheering before the lady had even said anything! Thankfully, she said yes.’
Le Gav isn’t the only restaurant whose romance gets diners carried away. At Bob Bob Ricard, one gent had 100 red roses delivered to his table before he popped the question (though we think Jay-Z has cleaned out all the florists now), while at Aqua Shard, one boyfriend disappeared then reappeared carrying his girlfriend’s drinks order – and a little box. One romantic whisked his partner to afternoon tea at The Ritz in the hotel’s own Rolls-Royce before proposing (take that, Uber). At City Social, one chap had the ring hidden in the box of petits fours that arrives with coffee. Meanwhile, at Galvin at Windows, staff made an extra-special effort to calm the nerves of one proposing punter, by leading him and his beloved out to the calm of the restaurant’s private balcony. No-one jumped. Everyone got engaged. We do love a happy ending.
Want to set the mood? Check out the most romantic restaurants in London.