The Folly, Bank

the folly restaurant
I could fit you in on Tuesday

The Vibe

The rise in popularity of dating apps like Grindr, Lovestruck and Dattch hints at a new dating mood that has become as much about convenience as it is about romance. If you don’t manage to schedule a primetime Friday night date (4 weeks in advance), you may need to fit one in after work. For city slickers, The Folly is as close as you can get to a good-looking and casual restaurant near work, without having to capitulate to the cringe of All Bar One or the superfluity of Barbecoa. Enter the giant room to be confronted with a lot of seated groups and couples, great lighting, a buzz (or tremor) generated by people flanking wooden communal tables and a good spread of foliage that saves the place from being a sterile city den.

They call themselves ‘the City’s secret garden’ and the place, despite its size and location, is actually very pretty indeed, casual and full enough to put you instantly at ease, but with some clever lighting, candles and green touches to fuel a pastoral romance (of sorts). There are also hostesses to greet and take you to your table, adding a bit of swagger to proceedings.

The Order

It’s midweek and you are popping in for a one-course meal, a bottle of wine and some sparks (albeit within a sensible time period if you please). Order the vino to the table the moment you sit down and, since you’ll be skipping starters, get some nibbles to keep you going (olives and one of their goats cheese-topped flatbreads will do). What The Folly does well is basic ‘corporate casual’ fare- think chunky club sandwiches, steak with sauces, EXCELLENT chips and very decent burgers (with meat from Allens of Mayfair and buns from Borough market). Finish the bottle and, if it’s going well, say yes to the offer of ‘just another couple of glasses?’.

The Game

This is the place to take a co-worker who you are embarking on a new and somewhat illicit affair with. Or another cityboy/girl you exchanged numbers with at The Corney & Barrow or Paternoster and were in two minds about whether to follow up. Agree on a post-work dinner on a Wednesday or Thursday, suggesting to meet at your local beforehand to kick-start the night. Whatever you do, don’t change out of your workwear; the whole point is to be mock-casual about everything on this date. Then stride to The Folly, and order very quickly. This date is a very easy one to prolong or cut short depending on how it’s flowing. If it’s going well, keep on ordering wine and wait till one of you has a guilty conscience and suggests you head home (separately) after a very long snog session propped up against the outer walls of the restaurant/your office. But if it’s going badly, order by the glass and call time on the evening once you’ve disposed of at least half your plate (‘oh the portions are massive, i’m stuffed. Bill?’). Then split the damage and run.

The Faults

Very much a post-work joint and no gourmand credentials.

Sex Factor

0/5. Early on in the week it’s easy to make work excuses and leave. That said, if you generously gave your date a Thursday night, you actually get on, and you hit the two bottle mark, it is most definitely on. One of you is likely to live on the central line so it will be a funny/lary train ride back. Set your phone alarm for the obligatory email to work tomorrow.

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