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St James's Market
Photograph: James Jones

Five delightful date ideas in St James’s Market

Stuck on ideas for your next date? Here are a few top options in central London to help ensure that things go smoothly

Time Out in association with St James’s Market
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It’s tough to keep coming up with fresh, original date ideas that will impress your partner – trust us, we know. We’re here to help you out. St James’s Market is a secret spot that’s surrounded by Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street St James’s. It’s nice and central, but calm enough to stroll around easily, and it’s packed with food to eat, drinks to drink and activities to keep you busy. Here’s a hit-list of great date ideas.

An indulgent brunch at Duck & Waffle Local

Let’s face it: you and your significant other deserve a show-stopping brunch once in a while. Luckily, Duck & Waffle Local is your guy. Unlike the original Duck & Waffle at Heron Tower, this spin-off has a no reservations policy and is trés casual, meaning you and your date can simply walk in and start browsing that incredibly inviting menu. Brunch is served until 4pm every day, so you can come in after a late night and really enjoy your first meal of the day together – even if that meal is in the afternoon. You could also just come for a regular breakfast and pair your food with a cocktail. Our recommendation? The fudge and brownie buttermilk waffle with salted caramel and ice cream, along with the ‘Breakfast Fizz’ with Grey Goose vodka and a ‘duck and stormy’ with rum, lime and ginger.

A serious meal at Scully St James’s

Is your date a bit of a foodie? Take them here and you’ll get serious brownie points, as well as a great meal. Scully’s head chef, Ramael Scully (who would have thought?), is the former head honcho at Nopi, Yotam Ottolenghi’s popular Middle Eastern restaurant. He combines influences from Malaysia, Sydney, China and India to create a truly unique menu that focuses on fermentation. After something a little more casual? Go for lunch rather than dinner, and don’t forget to look out for the wall of pickles upon entry.

Alfresco drinks at Aquavit

This Nordic all-day dining restaurant has some serious culinary credibility. It boasts a Michelin star and has some lovely outdoor seating in the square of St James’s Market – a delightful spot to enjoy a similarly delightful menu. Grab a Scandinavian cocktail in the sunshine with your date (after-work drinks, perhaps?) and if everything continues to go well, start ordering some of the superb small plates for the table.

Danish delights and the best of British

So, you need something really casual – like, first Tinder date let’s-suss-this-out casual. Danish café Ole & Steen is the perfect place. This beautifully minimal venue is cool, relaxed and the ideal spot to grab a specialty coffee to accompany a quick chat. If things are looking positive, order a ‘cinnamon social’, a long Danish pastry made for sharing. Or you could go Brit-traditional at cool modern café Urban Tea Rooms, which focuses on top-quality British produce. Your date can tuck in to anything from a posh bacon bap to homemade granola. Just remember not to rush them when they’re perusing the vast, exotic loose leaf tea menu – there’s a lot to choose from.

A weekend activity in the Secret Summer MKT

There’s almost always something happening in the square inside St James’s Market. Earlier in the year a massive screen popped up and happy crowds watched Harry and Meghan tie the knot, and this summer, it was Wimbledon’s turn to be in the spotlight – the market screened every match of the 2018 tournament. Take a peek at St James’s social pages (@stjameslondon) and keep an eye on stjameslondon.co.uk, and you’ll find acoustic sessions and food markets taking place on weekends, especially in the summer. Head to an event and then you can always follow it up with one of the date ideas we’ve mentioned. They all sound lovely, even if we do say so ourselves.

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