Our tradition of extravagant London birthdays continued with my 29th. The day started with breakfast at Canteen, then I went to one of the swanky salons in Marylebone to get my nails done. After that I went back home, where Andrew was finishing up the decoration on my birthday cake. We had lunch reservations to get to, so I got all dressed up and we went to l’Autre Pied, the sister restaurant to Pied a Terre, which loyal readers may recognize as the two-star restaurant Andrew and I accidentally went to, then left in disgrace. We were ready this time, and it was a lovely lunch. We got to sit in the private dining room, which was covered in beautiful embroidered silk wallpaper. I had my usual glass of sparkling wine and we got down to lunch. It was all very light and elegant. Here’s the lunch menu (we had one of each between the two of us):
- · Ballotine of Confit Guinea Fowl, Pickled Shimeji Mushrooms, Pinenut Vinaigrette, or
- · Slow Cooked Sea Trout, Pickled Cucumber, Lemon Oil and Herb Emulsion
- · Roasted Rabbit Leg, Mushroom and Tarragon Beignets, Creamed Broccoli, Hazelnut and Thyme Jus, or
- · Chanterelle and Herb Linguini, Poached Gem Lettuce, Velouté of Smoked Ham and Shaved Parmesan
- · Rhubarb and Frangipane Tart, Rhubarb Sorbet, Cardamom Crisps, or
- · Chaource, Young, Bloomy, Soft Cow’s Milk, Champagne, France
After a birthday nap, we took in a fun little animated Japanese movie at our favorite cinema, then went back home to change for our next feasting, this time at Locanda Locatelli, which was just around the corner from our flat, and which is supposed to be the best Italian restaurant in London. It was very dark and mysterious inside, and I felt like a million bucks striding through the restaurant in my fancy black dress and new birthday jewelry. The food was also worth a million bucks, although not as pretentious as one might expect. I had a rocket salad with shaved fennel and parmesan to start and grilled sardines stuffed with garlicky breadcrumbs as my main. There were also delicious homemade grissini and bread throughout the meal. I always have a hard time not overdoing it on the bread, but it was nigh impossible there! After a short walk home, it was time for birthday cake and a well-earned sleep.
The next day we relaxed in the morning, then went to The Wolseley for tea, followed by a long walk across town and a piano concert at the Barbican. All in all, it was a very grownup birthday, and I was a very luck birthday girl.