Valentines Day. I feel as though, like most things these days, celebrating this divides the nation.
Why do we need one day to show the person we love how much they mean to us? Shouldn’t we be doing that everyday? Isn’t your anniversary the day which is best suited for showing your undying love?
I mean, I get it. Like totally. But another excuse to get a date night in the diary – what’s not to like about that? When everyone is so busy with life, especially in London, I feel that maybe sometimes we do need a reminder to put some time aside for the ones we love. And for all the single people reading this, that doesn’t have to be romantic partners – I can’t wait for my date night with my sister on Saturday.
So on Tuesday, Alex and I decided to have an early Valentines Day date night – nothing flashy, just a cute evening for two consisting of a meal out and a film at the pictures. In my mind, one of the best date nights, simple yet fun.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I live close to the O2 Centre on Finchley Road, the shopping centre home to numerous restaurants and a Vue cinema – everything we needed for our date night in one place!
Having never been to Wagamama before, I was keen to introduce Alex to what he was missing out on, and of course I had the hidden agenda too, looking to satisfy my own cravings for noodles.
Up there on the top floor of the O2 Centre, The oriental restaurant was relatively busy for a Tuesday night. In fact, it seemed much busier than other restaurants in the O2, obviously a firm favourite.
With a Contemporary almost European feel with lots of sharing tables, low hanging singular lights and an open kitchen, the atmosphere is pretty relaxed.
The menu, filled with plenty of rice and noodle dishes as well as the odd salad, has plenty to offer, with meat lovers, vegetarians and gluten free diners in mind – great for a fussy eaters like Alex too. The drinks menu was almost just as comprehensive with several alcoholic options and a variety of soft drinks including several fresh juices – the tropical juice was a great choice, a mix of mango, apple and orange, it was delicious.
The only down side to having date night at Wagamama is that I always forget that the dishes come out as and when they’re ready, so you’re not guaranteed to be eating at the same time. Luckily ramen tends to stay really hot (due to the hot broth it’s served in), so I waited for Alex’s dish to arrive before digging in.
The Chilli Chicken Ramen, noodles in a spicy chicken broth topped with tender pieces of grilled chicken which pulled apart easily, red onion, spring onions, plenty of beansprouts, chilli, coriander and fresh lime, definitely satisfied my craving.
I could tell Alex had a little food envy (well who wouldn’t?!) but Alex’s Chicken Katsu was absolutely delicious.
Coated lightly in a panko breadcrumb coating, the chicken was smothered in an aromatic, almost creamy, curry sauce and served with sticky rice and a side salad. Although he didn’t really touch the salad (the horror of it, I was tempted to eat it myself), I could tell he was enjoying his first visit.
Ok so I was a little greedy, and a little way into our mains a portion of the Ebi Katsu, a coated prawn side dish, arrived.
A little forgotten about, being so engrossed in our dishes and discussion, they almost surprised us with their appearance, but were thoroughly enjoyed – juicy and plump, each prawn had a light coating and was delicious by itself, the chilli and garlic dip adding an extra kick of heat. In fact, Alex enjoyed this dip so much that he added a little to his Chicken Katsu – spice advocate right there!
With the cinema not far (literally a 1 min walk to the other side of the O2 Centre), it meant there was no rushing about, which was fab as that’s one thing I hate.
Now as it was date night, and Alex always gets to choose the films, he let me choose this time and I have to tell you, I chose a corker!
Armed with mixed popcorn (you have to have sweet and salted!), a Diet Coke with lime from the new self service machines at Vue which I love, and a Ben & Jerry’s milkshake for Alex, we settled into our comfy standard seats on the back row – our choice when ordering – ready to watch Hacksaw Ridge.
Now you might think that it’s an odd choice for a girl, on an early Valentine’s Day evening out, but I was intrigued by the story line – the story is based on WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa and refuses to kill people due to his religion. I might not be your usual girl, I love a war film especially when based on a true story, but I can definitely pick a good film – there’s a reason this is rated 8.4 on IMDB!
Honestly, I cannot rate this film highly enough. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I won’t say too much. You might find the beginning a little slow as they set the story, but I was soon on the edge of my seat, sweaty palms, anxious and totally engrossed. Being 2 hours 19 minutes I thought it would feel like such a long film, but it flew by, with me wanting more at the end.
We munched and sipped our way through parts – what’s a good film without awesome snacks?– and I was pretty jealous of Alex’s milkshake. He went for a Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Bun one and it was insanely good – creamy with a strong cinnamon flavour shining through.
By the end, we were ready to hit the hay after an awesome early Valentine’s Day at the O2 Centre, Finchley Road. With everything under one roof, a great choice of restaurants and a HUGE Vue with 10 screens, there’s bound to be something on to suit everyone – and we sure enjoyed our early Valentine’s Day.
Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?