By WENDY HARGREAVES
Love or hate it, Valentine’s Day gives us all an excuse to indulge in the finer things in life. So whether you’re a loved-up couple, a proud single, or somewhere in murky land in between, let Cupid’s bow strike you right in the taste buds.
- Chinatown, Little Bourke St, Melbourne
- Lunar New Year is an important milestone, but it really just means one thing… eat all the dumplings. At least that’s my definition. And the new year festival coincides with Valentine’s Day, so head to Chinatown and celebrate the Year of the Pig by sharing a huge serve of pork dumplings with your Valentine, or your buddy, or just eat them all yourself. Dumplings are little Chinese symbols of wealth and prosperity, so it’s all upside. My favourites are Hu Tong (opposite the Flower Drum at 14-16 Market Lane) and Shandong Mama (Mid City Plaza, just off Bourke St).
- 5.30pm on February 14, Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders St, Melbourne
- Bartender Fred Siggins takes his cocktails next level by delving into the history and mythology behind the world’s best love potions, elixirs and aphrodisiacs. Fred (a gifted storyteller) will show Valentine lovebirds (and wannabe lovebirds) step-by-step cocktail demonstrations, with tasting samples and “romantic morsels” (from $60pp). Bookings essential.
- From 6pm on February 14, QT Melbourne Rooftop, 133 Russell St, Melbourne, (03) 8636 8800
- One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and the folks at QT are hoping that theory works in the world of love on Valentine’s Day. They’re asking people to bring their ex along for the ultimate singles mixer. And if you don’t have an ex, bring along a best friend as your hand bag for the night. No matter how it works out, the cocktail list is worth a surf, and QT chef Andy Harmer cooks fabulous crispy fried chicken.
- Thornbury Picture House, 802 High St, Thornbury, (03) 9995 0040
- Catch a movie while sipping on a fabulous cocktail. The Four Pillars Gin team will be pouring $12 cocktails and $8 G&Ts at the Thornbury Picture House on February 14 (and every Thursday until February 28), with a DJ playing love songs and dedications in the foyer before the show. The two Valentine screenings will be 1995’s classic Euro romance Before Sunrise with a very young-looking Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
- 60 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, (03) 9537 3465
- What says love more than freshly-baked pizza and your favourite bevvie? That would be all of the above with a shoulder massage, right? Those clever pizza makers at Pizza E Birra are doing just that. Mention “pizza and massage” when you book a table for Valentine’s Day and you’ll get a free five-minute shoulder and neck massage from 3 Minute Angels while you enjoy your pizza.