It's almost Valentine's Day and love is in the air... and one Essex restaurant has been named as one of the top 50 most romantic venues in the country.

Online restaurant booking service OpenTable has revealed the list, which takes in 31 entries from London as well as a couple from Edinburgh and Kent.

But hidden away in that list is the Pig & Whistle Restaurant, near Chelmsford.

The restaurant is housed in a 16th century building with a long history of serving customers as a pub.

But when owner Brendan Curran first set his eyes on what was a run-down, he had dreams to transform it into a restaurant fit for like minded foodies.

Its website states over the years, due to changes in smoking and drink driving laws, the level of drinking customers had dwindled for the Chignal Smealy building so when Mr Curran took over in 2013 he set about turning the space into a restaurant. Six months later, he met restaurateur Amanda Hudson and they planned the "perfect" restaurant which has also been commended for customer service at the Essex Life Food & Drink Awards 2018.

Valentine's options vary from a couple's afternoon tea, at £35 per couple to an evening set menu at £40 per person.

But be warned... they are fully booked for Thursday evening.

Adrian Valeriano, vice president, EMEA, OpenTable, said: “Here at OpenTable, we consider diner reviews as a fundamental element of the service we offer to UK diners, ensuring customers can discover the right dining experience wherever they are in the UK.

"As London continues to cement itself as the UK’s culinary capital, it’s also great to see outstanding restaurants from across the country including Edinburgh, Birmingham, Kent and Essex all appearing on the list as some of the most romantic places to dine this Valentine’s Day.”

Here is the complete list or click here.


Afternoon tea at hotel Café Royal

Angels with Bagpipes

Chapter One

Cielo Restaurant

Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Clos Maggiore

CORE by Clare Smyth

Forage & Chatter


Galvin at Windows

Gauthier Soho

Hakkasan Hanway Place

Ham Yard Bar and Restaurant

Hawksmoor Air Street

Hawksmoor Borough

Hawksmoor Knightsbridge

Hawksmoor Manchester

Hawksmoor Seven Dials

Hawksmoor Spitalfields

Indian Accent

Ivy Chelsea Garden


Kaspar’s at The Savoy

Kendell's Bistro



Margot Restaurant



Number 16 Restaurant

Paco Tapas

Palm Court at The Langham, London

Peace and Loaf Restaurant

Pig & Whistle Restaurant

Pollen Street Social

Roux at The Landau

Smith’s Restaurant Wapping