We are currently trialling our new-look independent.co.uk website - please send any feedback to beta@independent.co.uk


Bites: Nothing says 'I love you' like a blindfold

Valentine's Day has long been a licence for restaurants to unleash horrifying gimmicks on customers. Aphrodisiac menus, petals on the tablecloth or, in the case of London's Met Bar this year, a scary-sounding silk blindfold embroidered with the words "when Romeo met Juliet". At least the Dorchester has come up with something a bit more useful: an invite for anyone booked in on the 14th to go into Alain Ducasse's kitchen during the day and prepare macaroons to serve to their loved ones that evening.

For those seeking something a little more traditional, London's newest oyster bar and bistro The Commander has just opened in Bayswater.

It seems that the Oscars are a licence for a few gimmicks too. Sibling Indian restaurants Tamarind and Imli are both cashing in on... sorry, "paying tribute" to, awards favourite Slumdog Millionaire: while Soho's Imli has Mumbai-style street food on its menu, its Mayfair sister is putting on a lavish millionaire's feast. Just don't start giving a speech when your meal turns up.