kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
On Tuesday I turned 27; [personal profile] me_and got me a set of lockpicks and a practice padlock, and took me to Ottolenghi Spitalfields for dinner.

The morning of, they called A to confirm the booking -- and, he tells me, followed up with "... and there's a note about a wheelchair in the booking...?" So, naturally, he braced, and was very pleasantly surprised when what they actually wanted to say was "... we've got a folding ramp and we can get it out for you."

We arrived. "Just one moment," said front-of-house, and went to get the ramp. They did not try to grab me as I was going up it. "Through this way," they said, and showed us to a table for two that was easy for me to get to, adjacent a wall neatly out of the way of everyone's path, with the sensible chair already removed for me to just slot in.

This is much better than even fancy restaurants normally manage; I was -- we were! -- impressed.

Also, they fed us really very well.

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... and then, after a little extra faff involving buying one of the cookbooks, they got the ramp back out and held the doors open and cheerfully let me back out into the outside world, with some commiseration about the part where it had started drizzling gently. However, as I said to A, while it might not have been the best kind of rain it was definitely in my top five, so I was absolutely fine with that.

I had a lovely evening and was delighted; A has, as mentioned, been before and been a fan, so I rather suspect more visits are (however sporadically!) in our future.


Unrelated (except insofar as it's about food, and specifically pistachio cake): someone I know tweaked last month's Smitten Kitchen pistachio loaf cake recipe to include blackberries and lemon.
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
Because I had a birthday, again. P had arranged to be Elsewhere this year, so A was my only dining companion. I was a little nervous about that, partly because I am a seething mess of anxiety at the moment but partly because my understanding had been that last year he'd enjoyed it well enough but hadn't been anything like as impressed as P & I. Which, you know, fair enough -- but in fact this year his main arrived and he proceeded to sit looking stunned and rapturous for several whole minutes, which I of course found utterly charming.

For my part, this year they took me well outside my comfort zone and it almost all just worked.

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
I can't for the life of me remember which of you it was that linked me to this frankly glorious restaurant review, but thank you.
The Hudson Valley Foie Gras (“Seared with Brussels Sprouts and Smoked Eel”) is divine; the Widow’s Hole Oysters (“Hot and Cold with Apple and Black Chestnuts”) are excellent if weirdly capitalized; but the remarkable thing is the turnip course. A turnip, as you know, should be allowed to be a turnip; that is for the best.


(Meanwhile A is quoting an article about the Tube back at me, and I continue desperately enamored of the concept of rose-and-vanilla or chamomile battenberg, which latter was brought to my attention by [personal profile] aella_irene.)
kaberett: A stylised potato as background, overlaid with a list of its applications. (potatifesto)
[personal profile] sebastienne, [personal profile] shortcipher and I went to David Bann on our last day in Edinburgh. My overall verdict: interesting and tasty, but nothing I couldn't identify and nothing I'm not confident I could (work out how to) make to equivalent standard, and nothing so utterly baffling I'd never have considered putting it together and was astonished by how well it worked and how much I liked it. I'd happily go again and enjoy myself, but it's not something I'm going to spend time thinking about starry-eyed and dazed in the same way I do Vanilla Black. Which is an unfair yardstick, because by any other measure it's very good!

(At this stage, I'm afraid this is going to be brief notes rather than anything more in-depth, in a slightly desperate attempt to get it done before I forget everything. Sorry also for the terrible phone camera photos; still very much suspiciously getting the hang!)

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David Bann: desserts
In front: hot peach and vanilla tart with raspberry ice cream
At back: "Whole raspberry jelly served on thinly sliced caramel pineapple topped with rum coconut sorbet. Served with Amaretto soaked figs."


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... yep, everything was tasty and I would happily go back. :-)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
... and twice makes a tradition. P-the-ethical & I have a habit of going for A Fancy Meal most times we end up in the same place, which we probably need to curb a little now that we see each other more than twice a year, and he was keen to go back and is an excellent dining companion; I'd been wanting to know what facesfriend thought of the place since he'd mentioned to me that work owed him a fancy dinner; and I was wanting to introduce them in a context that wasn't in point of fact A Party. Plus taking more people out to fancy vegetarian dinners means I get to try more of the food, so. That was a motivation.

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As one might expect service was unobtrusive except when they had no option, e.g. the committee that assembled to gape in amusement at how badly I'd got my hair tangled in my coat on arrival; and the point at which we came to pay, my boys looked at each other and me and pulled out their cards and said we'd sort out my contribution later, the waiter was very carefully very impassive, and I ended up going bright pink and burying my head in my hands and giggling because yes, in fact, it was exactly what it looked like. But also at a point earlier in the meal I'd mentioned that It Was My Birthday Treat, was wished a happy birthday, and then my dessert came out on a plate with "Happy Birthday" in the glaze and a candle on top of it. So! It was showy but also judged exactly right for me. It was lovely. <3
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Verdict: the dessert was amazing; we were offered tap water; my mother was correctly invited to taste the wine; the vegetarian main was a particular brand of incoherent charming only because I wasn't paying for it, in that it was very clearly the case that every vegetable accompaniment to every other dish on the menu had been piled up artistically. The result was very pretty and sort of fascinatingly confused, flavour-wise; I'd be willing to go back if someone else were paying (the same is emphatically not true of Alimentum, who served me the most insipid £25 risotto it's ever been my misfortune to consume; four-or-so years on I'm still resentful).

Dessert was, as I say, sublime; I had an intensely vanilla-y almond tart in which was sat a whole poached pear, done not in red wine but something else altogether; served with rosemary & manuka honey ice-cream, which was enclosed in a beautiful pink spun-sugar sphere. Excellent, would dessert again.

The meat-eaters seemed happy?

... right okay so it's my dad's 60th today, basically, and I wanted to come and visit my mum because approximately every human being I know in the south of England is at a particular club night in London tonight (club nights are fundamentally incompatible with my sensory issues alas), and so I accidentally ended up being taken out to a fancy dinner.
kaberett: A pomegranate, with eyes and mouth drawn onto masking tape and applied (pomegranate)
So I have some friends visiting, and they have a different friend visiting, and she was craving Ethiopian food, so my friends asked the internet (... in the basement at work where there is internet). They found Kokeb and it is great. It is so, so good.

It is run by auntie, right, who cheerfully self-described to us as "bossy auntie". Auntie went to university in Ethiopia and had her first daughter there, moved to Bulgaria and had her second child and became sufficiently fluent in Bulgarian to work for the Bulgarian government, and then she moved to London and set up an amazing restaurant. As far as we can tell it's an entirely one-woman show; like, she will take orders, check that everybody's ordered everything they want with cheery warnings that if you don't get in now you'll be waiting for a while, and then disappears out back until reappearing Some Time Later with food.

There were four of us; we paid under £40 including tip for Plenty Of Food and also tip.

... food. Food. The "hot and spicy" was well within my tolerance; we had weekend-special-wot (shiro - chickpeas), fule (delicious fava bean thing), ayeb be-gomen (delicious cheese thing), and lots of misc veg - misor wot (red lentil), alicha kik (yellow lentil), spinach, fosolia & carrot (I was so excited about how they use the correct green bean word), ye-atiklt wot (potato carrot misc veg thing), and four injera (delicious sour bread product). We inhaled it all and it was brilliant and we were so happy and it was so good. Like, I cannot do justice to how happy we all were about putting it our faces. I think my absolue favourite was the yellow dal or possibly the fosolia&carrot but I would really not want to have to pick just one thing.

... and as we were leaving auntie hugged us all!! She did not do that to all the customers but like friendpeople semi got into an auntie-off with her and she clearly decided to adopt us a bit? The food was brilliant & she was wonderful & just -- yes, yes I will be going back.

The only thing to be aware of is that she has a fairly strong preference for you to phone ahead so she knows how many injera to make each day so she doesn't run out (and also that the card machine is currently broken so she is cash-only) (and that it is an entirely one-woman show so service is not as fast as it might be if, you know, there was more than one of her) but aaaaaaaah need to find an excuse to go back asap. With company. The better to order EVERYTHING rather than being restricted to just one or two dishes. (Four people seems to be optimum - that way you can get pretty much every veg item on the menu and have the right amount of food without making auntie stick tables together.) So, you know, volunteers? ;)
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
P & I have been meaning to make it to Vanilla Black for a while (at least since April!), and today we did. Notes on what we had follow; decidedly not vegan & we had three courses each.

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tl;dr it is not exactly like I am a bad or unadventurous cook (& nor is P!) and nonetheless most of the dishes we had contained not just things we didn't know how to make but things we couldn't even identify that were nonetheless delicious. I-- just-- yes. The food was excellent and presented beautifully; the environment lovely, with music quiet enough to be unobtrusive while still masking conversations at nearby tables (I have difficulty with auditory processing, so!); the service was attentive and unobtrusive if perhaps a little slow, but we weren't in a hurry and so didn't mind. The place was very quiet on a Monday lunchtime - we arrived at 1pm and saw two other couples before we left - but this wasn't exactly a bad thing.

... we are plotting to go back to try more of the things.

(And then we went to a Prom and were both surprised by how much we liked Nielsen's 5th, and then we curled up in bed with take-away curry and watched two episodes of Elementary, heh.)

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