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Where’s Wendy?

This Valentine’s Day, Wendy Hargreaves goes in search of last-minute Valentine’s Day treats. Here are five of her favourites.

SHARK FIN INN
50 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, 03 9662 2681
If you love Chinatown, it’s time to show some love for Melbourne’s iconic strip. Fear about the coronavirus has caused a massive downturn for Chinese restaurants, with institutions like Shark Fin House forced to close. Their sister restaurant Shark Fin Inn is still serving fresh, affordable Cantonese, as it has done every day since 1980. Head in for a dumpling feast or a plate of Melbourne’s best crab claws. Shark Fin House is open from 11.30am for lunch and dinner, serving supper right up to 1.30am.

BAR ROMANTICA
52 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, 03 9191 9410
The late-night bar lives up to its romantic name. Open to 3am Fridays and Saturdays, it’s all cosy and dim, with a delicious late night menu including a sharing plate with salumi and cheese, pear jam, pickles and buckwheat crackers, plus a range of pizzas (from $18). Go for the mushroom and pecorino. It’s ridiculously good.

PICCOLINA
Piccolina Baci
Piccolina Collingwood, Hawthorn and St Kilda
Three words. Giant frozen Baci. And there’s a cute little love note in the middle. Those clever gelato magicians at Piccolina have come up with a supersized version of Italy’s choc-hazelnut treat (which means “kisses” in Italian). The Baci gelato has crunchy hazelnut praline on top and a chocolate fudge base, all coated in dark chocolate and wrapped in silver foil, just like the mini original. This $20 treat-for-two can be ordered here (and it’s best to order ahead).

SPICE MARKET
Beaney Lane, Melbourne
Not a fan of all the Valentine schmaltz? Spice Market, a luxe Middle Eastern-style club tucked under the Grand Hyatt Hotel, is open late tonight with an anti-Valentine party called “Love Stinks…Let’s Drink”, featuring a burlesque show by Sina King.

ORIENTAL TEAHOUSE
378 Little Collins St, Melbourne, and 455 Chapel St, South Yarra
Made for new couples, the Oriental Teahouse Dumplings for Dating is a table-sized getting-to-know-you board game over a yum cha feast with cocktails ($80pp). Questions range from favourite desserts to whether your date wants children, and can get a bit steamy.

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