Valentine's Day is arguably the most commercial day of the year. I'm pretty sure Saint Valentine would not be standing back proudly if he could see what his day has become; the truly tacky gifts, the exaggerated bouquets, the set Valentine menus that restaurants churn out, hiking the price up an extra 10 percent while they're at it. The true intention of Valentine's Day has surely been lost amongst the gimmicks, only to be replaced by stressed-out couples made to feel guilty if they so much as... gasp!... forget the obligatory 'heartfelt' card.
This is all making me sound very unromantic and against all things sentimental. I can assure you that I am none of the above, I just don't like feeling forced into it. Indeed, myself and my boyfriend exchanged said cards and paid homage to the day by treating ourselves to dinner out. We were careful in our choosing though and settled on recently-relocated Cafe Kino in Stokes Croft, Bristol. No set menus or heart balloons in sight.
Cafe Kino is a vegan, not-for-profit co-operative. It hosts poetry evenings and discussions about feminism which verges on conceitedness but the food and general ambience of the place does a good job of dispelling any notion of this. Don't go to Kino if you are looking for an extensive menu of fancily assembled bite size morsels of flavour fusions. The food here is simple, wholesome and packed with lentils and healthy goodness. I chose the falafels served with a pitta, homemade hummus and a 'kino salad', whilst my boyfriend went for the spicy vegan burger with hand cut chips. Washed down with Organic Westons cider and accompanied by 1920s Ragtime tunes, this was the perfect antidote to a day that revolves around schmaltzy fakery. And all for less than a tenner each. I recommend you try it.