Thursday, March 08, 2007

Birthday dinner

No pictures of my birthday dinner, I'm afraid. It's funny: when we are on holiday abroad, the missus and I almost never feel any shame in whipping out the camera and photographing every course in detail, but here in the UK it just seems so wrong! So we didn't even take the camera out of the house with us. And I'm kind of glad of it, to be honest, because we would have been rather conspicuous.

I knew in advance that the restaurant I/we had chosen was a bit posh. But I thought it was going to be just that: a bit posh. I mean, it's only 7 miles from our house, so how posh could it be, right?


It turns out it was only the second restaurant I've been to in my life where you have to ring a doorbell to gain admission. (The first one, incidentally, was also for my birthday dinner, two years ago, in Rome. Seems I am something of a high-class motherfucker after all, choosing all this fancy shit for my "special day".)

So the door is opened, and we are greeted and allowed in (phew!). Our coats are taken and we're shown to the lounge/bar area and asked what we want to drink. It being a celebration, we chose the Champagne. (To be fair, being Italian-ish, we asked for Prosecco, which is kind of Italian Champagne, but they didn't have it; they informed us that the house Champagne was Pol Roger.) So we has a glass each, and they soon brought us the menus and a little plate of appetizers: olives (yuk), two teeny-weeny cheese on toasts, and a couple of anchovy breadstick things. The cheese on toast was deeelish!

We ordered from the menus next. Red opted for a first course of pumpkin risotto, followed by the steak with (I think) dauphinoise potatoes and parsnips. I chose the first course of Parma ham with caramelized pears, rocket, and Parmesan shavings, followed by the veal escalope with capers and a fried egg on top. (This latter dish should also have anchovies, but I didn't fancy that so had them left off; I also left all the capers.) Side orders of vegetables accompanied the main courses: spinach, roast potatoes, and baby carrots.

But before the first course came, we had another freebie dish, this time a celeriac soup with croutons. The soup was in a teacup, and the croutons were set on a teaspoon on the edge of the saucer! It was really yummy, as was all of the food.

For dessert (cos I just gotta!) I had the clementine cheesecake with a lemon posset (whatever the fuck that is; even the waiter didn't know!) and a citrus sorbet. So kind of like three desserts in one. The cheesecake was DIVINE... the best cheesecake I have ever tasted. So damn light and smooth. Unbelievable!

Man, but this was a posh fucking joint, I tell you. The table of four next to us, which was full of nouveau riche cunts, just kept the Champagne flowing all night. We counted three bottles that they ordered, and at least one of the women didn't seem to be drinking. They were those loud-but-stupid types, y'know. They love for everyone to hear what they're saying, but they don't know what the fuck they are on about.

The one woman had a voice that made you want to strangle her: a real common Kentish accent with a squeaky stupidity added in for good measure. Her partner was a builder from what I could make out. But not like a good, honest, grafting builder; more like one of those builders that owns the business and can sit on his arse all day getting other people to do the manual labour. He sounded more Londony than Kentish, but he was vile, too. He was talking about being at some bloke's house and said, "But, y'know, I don't think he was a poof" at the top of his voice. I'm no prude and that, but I think it's unacceptable to be quite so brazen with your bigoted terminology in a refined environment.

Anyway, that is all by the bye, I suppose, with the exception of Red saying that they kind of spoiled the evening for her. Still, at least we had a good laugh at their expense. And blogged about how fucking vile they were. Ha! Take that, suckers!

It turned out to be the most expensive meal we've ever eaten, and yet we only had three glasses of Champagne between us, in terms of alcoholic beverages. Put it this way, there wasn't much change from £150 between the two of us once the tip was added in. (And we don't do crazy 75 per cent tips, or whatever the new norm is for you guys in the States.)

All in all, though, a very pleasant evening. And it led perfectly into today, which is International Woman's Day. So to all you international women out there (including my very own international woman), have a great eighth of March!

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Blogger Red said...

I think it's funny that we always end up in these posh joints for your b-day! Remember, in Rome the concierge at the hotel had said to us, "You're going where?! No, that place is too stuffy and rarefied. Why don't you go to this other place? The waiters are dressed as gladiators, and there's singing every night!"

But last night's restaurant was better than the one in Rome, I felt, no?

08 March, 2007 09:39  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Way better, yes. The one in Rome ... man, the food was so salty, as I recall.

08 March, 2007 09:50  
Blogger cappy said...

flash git.
i had a KFC last night. and i swear i didn't recognise any of the parts as being from a chicken.
oh and it was washed down with a 2006 vintage pepsi!
beat that!

08 March, 2007 10:42  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Cappy: Sometimes I think I get a bit too flash for me own good. Sure I like the finer things in life, but I don't really fit into that world. It's the earrings, the tattoos, the accent, the build... (Why are posh blokes always big?!)

I haven't had a KFC in years, though they are building one near us apparently. Not a fan of Pepsi meself. Prefer a beer or even a Coke, regardless of vintage!

08 March, 2007 10:54  
Blogger Tanya said...

Restaurant sounds divine. The loud twats don't.

08 March, 2007 11:21  
Blogger Gardenia said...

Happy Birthday! The dinner sounds delish (some the dishes I have not heard of even) - but hey, you guys, we are living vicariously through you! So don't stop!!!

Sounds much more enchanting than the "Shrimp Basket" where we ate on our anniversary and the waitresses spotted my raven tattoo and snickered throughout the evening and pointed.

And the "entertainment" next to your table was at least amusing with the right point of view! Don't you hate getting next to loudmouths who drink too much and get louder?

Anyway, sounds like you had a nice, enjoyable birthday dinner, all in all.

08 March, 2007 12:28  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

do i count as an international woman? i mean... i'm international to you, yes? ;)

i'm so glad you such a great birthday, *. seems like you and red just do these things right... a lovely trip for her, an awesome new tattoo and fancy dinner for you. you guys just grow more and more awesome by the day!

i'm glad to know you. :)

08 March, 2007 15:21  
Blogger Lee said...

Happy b-day! A restaurant with a doorbell? I never been so fancy! Wow!

And I always bring my camera, but never, ever remember to take any pics.

08 March, 2007 15:44  
Blogger Milla said...

Very entertaining post that made me larf out loud -your poshness especially!!
My birthday is in September, you can start saving your 150 quid right now. I'll come and collect it on my way to the posh diner.

P.S. Does the word 'poshness' actually exist?

08 March, 2007 15:48  
Blogger ldbug said...

Wow, that sounds so fun! Too bad those jerks kinda ruined it for Red:-(

Well I guess it just shows you don't have to have money to have manners!

08 March, 2007 16:10  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Tanya: Loud twats ≠ divine, that's fer sher.

Gardenia: It was kind of enchanting. Although it was posh and bit stuffy on the surface, the waiters were very nice and young and as friendly as could be expected. It's probably rare that they see people under 50 there.

Martha: Of course you're an international woman! We're glad to know you, too, thanks.

08 March, 2007 19:26  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Lee: Ding-dong, can I come and eat at your fine establishment? No, fuck off you little urchin! That's what it feels like.

Milla: Glad it raised a smile! Poshness is fine, no?

LDB: Don't know what happened!

08 March, 2007 19:27  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Sounds like a delicious experience..I especially like the little tidbits they brought between course. I love the idea of surprise food. We had thai last night and thy driopped in a couple little side dishes...some deep friend covered vegies with sauce not bad...but no anchovy bruchetta.

Oh I love trying different foods and delicate foods. Good for you I'm surprised you only had three glasses of champgne. I admit...champagne is my weakness, Stagg's too.

08 March, 2007 20:06  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

oh did you make 600 posts yet...or is that for a new post coming up on anniversary of blog?

08 March, 2007 20:07  
Blogger Cynnie said...

I adore going to fancy shmancy places!.
I always feel like I'm pretending to be a proper grown up and I'm gonna get sent back to the kiddy table at any minute!
The most money spent ?
about 700 dollars for 4 people..
But My friend was able to expense it for business..

That made everything just that much more delish.

Glad you had a great birthday punkin!

09 March, 2007 03:33  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Candy: We love Champagne, too. But I was driving, and Red doesn't normally drink much anyway. Free stuff at restaurants is awesome, isn't it, but it usually means you're paying for it in some other way! I LOVE Thai food... Not hit 600 yet. Don't think I'll make it before Sunday either. Oh well.

Cyn: Fancy schmancy is okay, but some places do it more subtly than others. This was slightly too staid for my liking (mainly because of the other diners). But yeah, i always feel like they're going to send me to kiddies' corner, too. $700 is plenty for 4 peeps, right? At least is was "free", really. Best way!

09 March, 2007 09:35  

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