Friday date night

IMG_4017It’s been a bit of strange week, returning from an extended trip in France. On our return, my Uncle Little D suffered stroke although thanks to swift action by my aunt, Little P,  a miracle stroke drug administered at an early stage and some stonking NHS care he is doing well and is already back home with few ill effects…..amazing.

The working week ended on a high note as Rocket’s boss,  had kindly arranged for us to have a meal out in town as his birthday gift for this year so last night was elected as a fine time to dine out at Cafe Murano.

We fancied a drink before hand and we were unsually well organised for getting over to St James’s at a good hour, so Rocket suggested drinks in The American Bar at The Stafford Hotel.  Well, I’ve never been there before and I really fancied a cocktail so why not?

The bar was busy with a nice hubbub hububbling away around us and we were seated in a cosy little corner. Rocket had already decided on a Martini as this is the benchmark he uses by which to grade a decent establishment.  Rocket takes it with Gin, straight up with an olive. I say this because when Stateside on our hols of the past, you are asked a barrage of questions on requesting a Martini and so now we are always ready with the correct details…back to the tale!

I opted for ‘The Stafford Garden’ a delicious mixture of Hendrick’s gin with apple juice, apple sour, cucumber, mint and orange zest – very moreish.

I must say that it is a pricey establishment in which to slake one’s thirst with the cocktails at £18.50 so it was a treat indeed… There is a gentlemen’s club feel about the place, not always my favourite thang but actually really rather lovely in this case. It is also dimly lit in the evenings, which is a must for me.

IMG_4011Crossing  St James’s, we stepped inside the lovely Cafe Murano – an Angela Hartnett restaurant offering wonderful Italian rustic dishes, beautifully presented by chef Sam Williams.

On entering the restaurant, there is a nice buzzy vibe, the lighting is perfect and it is busy but not crowded, if you know what I mean?

The staff are great, they are there to advise and assist but also leave you to your conversation in just the right measure.

We got going with the aperitif of the day ‘Rossini di Roma’, a creation of prosecco, grand marnier and crushed strawberry…

After much prevarication and a little negotation between eacIMG_4014h other around who chooses which dish, I started with the proscuitto de parma, goats curd and white nectarine salad. I love curd cheeses of all descriptions and this one was richly creamy – a perfect light and delicious beginning. Rocket opted for the Carpaccio of octopus which, whilst I don’t enjoy octopus, looked so beautiful and I was required by Rocket to try it – as is his wont – which I duly did. I must say that the hazlenut dressing was lovely….

IMG_4028Rocket followed with a main of Tagliolini with braised rabbit, carrots and pea shoots – he was very pleased with his choice which was packed with flavour. I opted for the sea bass, courgette fritter with a sweetcorn and datterini salsa…I now know datterini to be little plum tomatoes that are really sweet and juicy – it was perfect.IMG_4022

Always tempted by dessert but with little room left, I rounded the meal off with a little ball of passion fruit sorbet and Rocket went for just a pecorino that came with some London honey on the comb…..the perfect end. As I was typing the word ‘dessert’ I was thinking about a French friend of ours who was recently IMG_4039correcting my pronunciation of ‘dessert’ in French. I was apparantly saying it in such a way that indicated sand and not pudding. I was explaining the nuance to Mata Hari when she rocked up in France to visit us and she was equally puzzled – she said “I’m not sure if I’m having an apricot or building  a sand castle”. How we laughed!

Bad start to this week but a fabulous ending.




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