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Swerve the dog house this Valentine’s Day with these walk-in restaurants

chicken shop

Today is the day that some of us love and the rest love to hate. Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you’re going all out with romantic gestures or maybe you’re planning a cosy night in. But for those of you, who have forgotten all about it, fret not, we have a round of up the best places in town to grab a bite, where booking a table in advance is not necessary.

5. Burger & Lobster: Various locations

With 4 locations in London, the newest being on Bread Street, Lobster & Burger’s menu is simple, but good. Choose from the burger, the lobster or the lobster roll, each costing a flat £20.

You may find yourself with a wait, but the hostess will give you a ring when your table is ready, so scope out a nearby cocktail bar and enjoy a pre-dinner glass of fizz with your date.

4. Chicken Shop: 79 Highgate Road, NW5

Nick Jones, the brains behind Soho House and Pizza East has started a new venture, which has been quoted as a “Posh Nando’s”. Targeting the hip twentysomethings of Kentish Town, Chicken Shop does have the feeling of an upmarket fast-food joint but if poultry is your thing, then you can’t really go wrong.

Rotisserie chicken, served as a whole, half or quarter with side dishes including crinkle cut chips and buttered corn-on-the-cob are washed down with wine which comes in a glass or jug, labeled as house, decent or good.  Finish your meal with a generous helping of apple pie and cream.

3. Pizarro: 194 Bermondsey Street, SE1

TV Chef Jose Pizarro has taken all his experience from running various critically acclaimed tapas bars in London and opened his own restaurant. Specialising in his native Spanish cuisine, you can sample a range of authentic dishes such as Ibérico pork or beef cheeks.

Jose is a tapas and sherry bar located at 104 Bermondsey and makes a perfect stop for an aperitif or post-prandial drink. Neither takes reservations and Jose is often standing room only. If there is a wait for dinner, you could just order a bottle of Rioja with a selection of tapas and pretend you are at a bustling bar in Madrid.

2. Polpo: Various locations

Evening is playtime at Polpo and as such they operate a no reservation, relaxed approach to dining. Dim lighting and background music enhance the atmosphere whilst the food and wine on offer in this small Venetian chain of restaurants are sure to be a hot choice for the day of love.

With a tasty, varied menu including ‘pizzettes’, breads, fish, meats and salads as well as a rather naughty Nutella dessert pizza and a decent wine list with the most expensive bottle topping out at £67, you may even be able to stretch to a bouquet of roses for your someone special.

1. Union Jacks: 5 North Hall, Covent Garden, WC2E

Jamie Oliver has joined forces with US chef Chris Bianco for this venture, of which there are now 4 branches in the UK.

This ‘walk in’ restaurant is well situated for anyone who has managed to snag a couple of theatre tickets in the West End for this evening.

Specialising in wood fired pizzas, the menu screams Oliver as you are encouraged to ‘pimp’ your dishes with extras, however a decent choice of starters including Bloody Mary Mussels, Beans on Toast and Fish Fingers and retro puddings like Arctic Roll and Sticky Toffee Pudding ice-cream can be nicely rounded off with one of their nightcaps.