The meaning or significance of Valentine’s day is lost in the mists of history. Today the day is associated with love and romance having lost its Christian origins when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St Valentine’s Day at the end of the 5th century. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. And romance it is, with flowers, candles, soft lights and music being the focus of the day.
And what more conducive to romance than gourmet dining amidst soft lights with a good bottle of wine and whether you’re proposing or toasting or just fueling the romantic fires, here is a list of the top places to celebrate your evening with the one that you love.
The four venues I am recommending will not only provide the perfect setting and ambiance for your night of love but the food quality will launch you to the moon and the stars.
So on Valentine’s day, for that one night in the year, throw caution to the wind, blow the monthly budget, spend an unforgettable evening whispering sweet nothings, propose, or reaffirm your vows to each other. Here is my choice of venues:
Shayo de Vin
As a wine bar, Shayo is an unusual place for a romantic dinner for two. Proprietor Alex Ng is a serious chef as I discovered recently, honing his skills operating a restaurant in the UK which he still does flying back and forth. His wife, Mei Ching, manages Chayo together with Nicholas Woo who is the ‘go-to’ person for everything whether it’s to order a case of their select wines or just to book a table for two as on Valentine’s night.
On Valentine’s night I suggest a serious bottle or two of their choice of wines (currently running a promotion of two bottles for the price of one) and a selection from their à la carte menu which includes beautifully marbled (grade 5, 6, 7 or higher) Wagyu steak, lamb chops, grilled Australian Perch fillets grown on their farm without antibiotics or additives; pasta and other items.
For Valentine’s night, give your beloved a real treat by ordering Alex’s abalone, the dried variety, lovingly rehydrated (takes a week!) and together with the dried sea cucumber (special Kwantung Hoisum) which is given the same treatment, braised till tender with an assortment of aromatic ingredients in superior broth and served on a bed of tender pea shoots. This is a surprising Chinese delicacy hardly expected in a Wine Bar but matched with a good red, was delightfully compatible. Do order way in advance for abalone.
Shayo is known for being quite the maverick. It is also the only place that sells Romanee Conti, touted as 10 of the world’s most expensive bottles of wine by UK’s Daily Telegraph.Shayo De Vin 58 Persiaran Greentown 1, Pusat Perdagangan Greentown, 30450 Ipoh. Executive Nicholas Woo: 012 588 3248, 016 521 3248 Business hours: 3pm-1am 24/7
If astounding your beloved is in the cards for you on Valentine’s Day then dinner at Jeff’s Cellar at Banjaran Hotsprings Resort is on the menu. Set in a million-year-old cave, the ambiance is magical and spellbinding and if weaving a spell of romance is setting the right mood for you on Valentine’s Day, then make a booking right now for Jeff’s Cellar.
Beginning with an Amuse Bouche (a tiny appetiser to “tempt the mouth”), followed by an appetiser of Osetra Caviar, Pan Seared Scallop, Carrot, Cumin Sand, Crispy Duck Chips and Cress. We then move into the Foie Gras with French Brioche, Caramelized Onions Puree, Grape Juice Reduction and served with homemade Apricot Jam Roll.
A Lobster Bisque with poached Lobster, Pistachio Spheres, Corn Kernels and Lobster Dust follows after which you clean your palate with a Signature Pop Sorbet.
Now you’re ready to tuck into either the Cod Fish, stewed in Tomato Consommé served with Saffron Risotto, Scallops, Mussels and Prawns, or Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef Striploin Truffle Mash, Burnt Onion Porcini Mushrooms, Charred Spring Onion and drizzled with Beef Jus.The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat No. 1 Persiaran Lagun Sunway 3, Sunway City Ipoh. Tel: 05 210 7777
Garvy’s In The Park
- Garvy’s 5-course Degustation Menu from Chef Yann Raimbaolt who fuses molecular with traditional methods as he creates his dishes.
- Lobster Roll
- Bone Marrow and Foie Gras Terrine
- Choice of Chicken or Fish Panne with Ratatouille Garden
- Homemade Chocolate marshmallow roasted at your table.
- White chocolate and Vanilla Mousse with dark chocolate glaze and tangerine sorbet
- plus one glass Rose wine RM208++
Citrus Wine and Dine
The funniest and most amusing item on the menu for Valentine’s Day comes from our stalwart in culinary excellence, Citrus Wine and Dine and the brainchild of Chef Simon Lee.
“Oops! Honey I dropped the Apple Pie”
This is a dessert to reflect the give and take in relationship. Often partners tend to focus on the other’s fault instead of the problem itself. To Chef Simon, he believes that even when your partner makes a mistake, “both should cooperate, communicate and help each other,” says Chef Simon Lee.
And what a beautiful statement for Valentine’s Day, as couples celebrate their love for one another. It’s not only candlelight and roses and romance but the give and take in relationships that will sustain.
For this evening. Chef Simon has created a 4-course menu which is highly affordable.
The menu begins with an appetizer of Smoked Duck with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette Mesculin Mix, Pine Nuts and Radish followed by a Seafood Bisque with sauteed Jumbo Crab meat served with house bread.
Main Course is a choice of 2 Way Lamb, a combination of Grilled Australia Lamb Chop & Lamb Croquette on Leek Ragout or Grouper Roulade (Fish) served on Bell Pepper Coulis, Crispy Silver Fish and Sauteed Vegetables.
Dessert is the wonderful conversation starter, the “Oops! Honey I dropped the Apple Pie” which Chef Simon hopes will encourage couples to communicate and accept one another’s shortcomings and all – RM129++.Citrus Wine and Dine 38-42 Laluan Ipoh Perdana, Taman Ipoh Perdana, Ipoh. Tel: 05 545 1010 or 012 527 1210 (Erica) Business hours: 11.30am-3pm; 6.30pm-11pm Closed Mondays
Wishing all my dear readers a Happy Valentine’s Day!