A well-executed home cooked dinner is one of the most impressive things that a man can achieve.

If you're really looking to make an impression this Valentine's, dust off a cookbook and dig deep for that apron. Always remember to still groom right for date night though.

The proof still definitely remains in the pudding - and starter and main course - in terms of culinary skills. Anybody can book or queue for a table, anybody can order in. Not everybody can conquer the kitchen.

We can't second guess what you might want to cook, and certainly can't guide you every step of the way, but we can advise on some of London's finest food and drink merchants to pick up ingredients from in preparation.

It's likely to be a busy rush the closer you get to the big night, but getting through the initial hustle is all part of the reward when you finally lay those plates down having created something amazing.

 

 

fin and flounder seafood

 

Fin & Flounder - 71 Broadway Market, London Fields, Hackney, E8 4PH

Fin & Flounder sell locally caught fish from the coastline, with a great selection of wines to complement dishes available too. If you're feeling immediately peckish having sourced through their array of fresh offerings, they also have a stall on Broadway market selling hot food and a seafood shack in Netil market.

 

ginger pig butchers

 

Ginger Pig - 99 Lauriston Road, Hackney, E9 7HJ

Part of the thriving Victoria Park village, Ginger Pig is a butchery that also offers a small selection of cured and cooked produce. At the heart of their farming is good animal husbandry and welfare; knowing that when livestock is looked after well in the field it tastes better on the plate.

 

noble fine liquor

 

Noble Fine Liquor - 27 Broadway Market, Hackney, E8 4PH

Specialising in authentic wines from France, Italy, and beyond, the buyers at Noble only focus on wines that they would drink themselves. Wines that reflect the grape, earth, and weather, the skill and passion of the grower, and the history and tradition of a specific culture.

 

montes deli upper streetmonte's deli london

 

Monte's Italian Delicatessen - 23 Canonbury Lane, Islington, N1 2AS

This gem of a deli rests quietly aside from pedestrian-heavy Upper Street. Inside you can barely move for the fantastic array of fresh produce. Everything that you would expect to find is readily available. From antipasti to speciality cheeses, cured meats to traditional sweets. Fine wines and spirits complete the catalogue of Italian pleasures.

 

belle epoque upper street cakes

 

Belle Epoque - 262 Upper Street, N1 2UQ

Recognised as one of the best pastry shops in the city with an extensive selection of cakes, chocolates, breads, viennoseries, tarts and quiches - everything is made to exactingly high standards.

Good luck trying to convince anybody that you made anything yourself.

 

gill wing upper street

 

Gill Wing Cook Shop - 190 Upper Street, Islington, N1 1RQ

Buying fresh luxury ingredients is all well and good, but without the essential tools to cook with you run the risk of sabotaging a meal before you've peeled the first vegetable.

Just moments away from our Islington picks is one of the best cookware shops in London. Gill Wing stock everything from premium knives, glassware, linen and whiteware china. A must-visit even if you just need to pick up some wine glasses.

 

borough marketborough marketborough wines market

 

Borough Market - Southwark Street, SE1 1TL

A complete haven for fresh, quality produce. If you only intend on a one-stop-shop, make it here. With so many great independent outlets all in one place, this is the right place to be ahead of a creative Valentine's - just don't go hungry if you want to be in and out.

Populated by a community of stallholders - the majority of which grow, rear or bake the food that they sell. Others are importers with intimate knowledge of whichever corner of the globe they source their products from.

Just a few highlights include Borough Wines, Bread Ahead Bakery and Turnips fruits and veg. You really can't go wrong, but be prepared for your menu to constantly change as you venture deeper.