London Lite Tuesday, 4 August 2009 19 Childs play: Nick and Ella chat over daiquiris and dominoes at the Artesian bar, right POSH DATE Email your restaurant reviews to love@thelondonlite.co.uk AS THE best way to a mans heart is through his stomach I booked dinner for two at The Butcher & Grill in Wimbledon Village (33 High Street, SW19, 020 8944 8269), where they serve my mans favourite dish, grilled calfs liver with bacon (15). Not partial to liver, I plumped for a classic sirloin steak (13.75) with green peppercorn sauce. There were some vegetarian options available, but whats the point? The front of the restaurant is a shop and my dinner date was salivating over the cuts in the shop window. Most of the mains do not include carbs or veg, which pushes up the price. He had mash (2.75) and I chips (2.75) and we shared two sides of veg -- delicious buttered spinach (3.50) and peas, beans and sugar snaps (2.75). The needed a drink first to chill out a little. We were soon talking about all sorts of stuff. Nothing was forced and it was just fun from beginning to end. We found we do a lot of the same sports and are interested in a few of the same things. Shes a really good tennis player and Im a member of a tennis club so we talked about playing a game together. It would be mixed doubles, though, as she is too good for me -- at one point she was one of the best players in Australia. I found her skill very impressive. I love Australians and their positive attitude -- they always seem fun and outgoing. Plus the banter between an Aussie and English person is always great, particularly during the Ashes. Ella beat me 3-2 in dominoes so she claimed she won the Dominoes Ashes series. The evening was more about having a laugh and we had some silly conversations about what it would be like to be an A-list celebrity and drink treasure chests of booze every night in Mahiki. We both thought it would be great fun. I think we have a similar attitude to nights out. Were both light-hearted and into having lots of fun -- and have a shared love of champagne cocktails, too. The venue for our date was great. It made you feel special just to be there. We shared a luxury platter with things like oysters and swordfish skewers. We didnt leave until about midnight. We walked back to the Tube together and swapped numbers. Were going to meet up again, I think. I said Id call her to arrange something. It was a really great night. The Langham is a member of The Leading Hotels Of The World, lhw. com. Artesian at The Langham (1a Portland Place, W1) offers Daiquiris And Dominoes, 55 for two, includes cocktails, sharing platter and use of dominoes. INTERVIEW BY SHARON BRENNAN Czechmate flirting was a bad idea I love festival bubbles, but they burst... Twosingletonsshare theirsearchforlovePlaying thefield M Y FRIEND Donna is in South America, sending me weekly updates on the amazing places she is visiting and -- most importantly -- the latest gorgeous guy shes seeing. After years of being single in London, Donna has become the ultimate man magnet. Its a classic case of Abroad Bravery -- when youre somewhere new, you try out things you would never dream of doing at home. Last weekend I went to the Czech Republic with a few girlfriends. My friend Bella, who we were visiting, took us to a cool little bar in Prague, heaving with young locals, where we got into the swing of things with a round of frozen margaritas. Right, which of these guys do you fancy? she demanded. Everyone has to pick someone. Serena spotted someone almost immediately. Bella told her to talk to him. She looked unsure but gulped down her drink and marched over. We watched with anticipation as he turned to her, smiled and started chatting. Result! Now you said W ERE deep into festival season. You cant plan anything now without someone announcing theyre off to a field. And while festivals are amazing fun, Im not sure going with your girlfriend is that awesome. My experiences have mainly involved bickering in tents and watching bands one of you hates. But going to one single? Amazing. You see, different rules apply at festivals. Youre in this booze-soaked bubble where anything goes. At a festival, you compact the entire meeting-a-girl process into a few hours. You meet, your mates hang with hers, you buy her a few ciders, slink off together and by the time the headliners are on, youre a festival couple. This happened recently. Such was our cidery connection, I was convinced I was looking at the next Mrs Parrish. It could have been the 36-hour booze marathon, but the whole thing left me giddy. Had I met The One while dancing to The Maccabees? We strolled hand-in-hand through our muddy utopia talking like soul mates and engaged in too many public snogs. I was deliriously happy. Or just delirious. But come Monday, things changed. My free- love outlook was replaced by the reality of a nine-hour trip home, work in the morning and an empty bank account. I suddenly didnt feel romantic. And neither did she. We swapped details, vowed to hook up in London and barely mustered a kiss goodbye. Our promised London date never happened. Its nothing personal, we just realised we dont belong together in the bad wide world. And thats okay. Because well always have those two-and-a-half glorious days... FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER.COM/CHARLIE_LITE Czechmate wasirtingfl sending meAmerica,South the--importantlymost--andvisiting Romilly Chambers,right festivalloveI We strolled hand-in-hand through Charlie Parrish Bella turning to me. No way. I never approach boys, what if they say no? But she was adamant. Come on! Try it! At home I would have argued, but it was liberating to be in a new city. So with a wave of confidence I picked a target -- a very cute guy talking to his friend -- and advanced with my best flirting face: wide eyes looking up through lowered lashes. I tapped him on the shoulder and introduced myself. He looked at me and paused for a second. I am having a conversation with a friend and you have interrupted me, he said blankly. Smackdown. I retreated hastily. Errr, he didnt speak English, I said, and I think he was gay. The funny thing, though, is that I was glad I had tried. And if I can do it in a strange city then I can do it in my own -- which is exactly what I did on my first night out back in London -- this time with success. FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER.COM/ROMILLY_LITE Meat feast: The Butcher & Grill, SW19 quality of the food was great, made all the better washed down with a Santa Rosa Malbec (21). There was enough room for dessert, as I had dismissed some of the tempting-looking starters in favour of the chocolate brownie and almond ice cream (5). They offer a few discounts, such as early-bird deals or half-price steaks on Tuesdays, but its easy to rack up the bill (with a tip ours was just over 70), despite ditching the starters and sharing a pud. But you do get what you pay for. And across from me, that was satisfaction. LULU, SW17 something. It was a really great spotofromance? index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html