The Saturday before last I was taken out for the evening by M as a belated belated birthday celebration. We started with dinner at Ottolenghi in Islington, somewhere I have wanted to go for ages, after years of salivating over Yotam Ottolenghi's mouthwatering recipes in The Guardian. One of the best meals I have ever eaten. The dishes were all starter sized, tapas style, and I had the following:
Bread selection with olive oil
Baked baby artichoke and peas with barley, lemon, garlic, parsley and pink peppercorns
Stuffed courgette flower with ricotta, goat's cheese, and date syrup
Grilled English asparagus with poached duck egg, verjuice mayonnaise, pea shoots, mint and broad beans
Apricot and blueberry clafoutis
No photographs of the meal because I didn't want to interrupt the evening, the simple white surroundings, the midsummer evening light streaming in, the flickering candlelight from silver candlesticks covered in layers of dripped wax, the friendly staff (who actually offered us a choice between still, sparkling and tap water when we arrived - the down-to-earth-ness was so refreshing), the delicious food, the excellent conversation.
It was wonderful.