Monday, January 25, 2010

Gastrotourismo (Happy Birthday!)

Last night we broke the seal on celeb-chef restaurants: Gordon Ramsay's gastropub The Warrington. It wasn't exactly what I expected in terms of atmosphere since the gastro and the pub were on different floors and had totally different decor. Entering through the front doors you see a cozy, comfy pub with leather sofas and plenty of room to relax. Upstairs you find an elegant dining room, white tablecloths, lovely armless leather dining chairs and comfy banquettes with lots of pillows.

The family was well turned-out. I think it's called casual-smart over here: hubby in Levi's, french-cuffed shirt, Burberry cufflinks, and an olive corduroy blazer; me in a black tunic with gold sequin detail, dark black skinnies tucked into boots, Missoni scarf, and a Robert Lee Morris for Elizabeth and James snake bangle bracelet which is totally awesome; kid in a Hamley's pirate costume, sans hat and eye patch, but with his face painted like Spider Man. Yes. You've read that correctly. We went directly from a Peter Pan fancy dress birthday party in St John's Wood (where I did not meet/see/or hear about Kate Moss, but where I was happy to see the happy marriage of small children dancing to Abba with an adult-sized Tinkerbell and my own seemingly bottomless glass of Brut Rose) to our dinner reservation. We were the first ones to arrive at The Warrington restaurant and the staff didn't bat an eye at our spider-faced cherub.

On the contrary, there was an amazing kids' menu and coloring sheets and crayons. Orlando had a perfectly cooked medium rare butter roasted rump steak served with best chips I've sampled in London so far, and for dessert, a sticky toffee pudding that made me rethink my whole "restaurant desserts are not worth saving room for" mantra. On top of it all, he was given a private tour of the kitchen by our lovely hostess Laura, and our Parisian waiter indulged my boy by speaking with him in baby French.

On the grown-ups' menu were a chicken liver madeira parfait (not what I expected of "parfait" at all, more like a slice of terrine) with yummy chutney and toasted brioche, venison carpaccio, and pan fried sea bream with braised leeks and fennel. We washed it all down with a Chassagne Montrachet (Bernard Moreau et fils), and topped it off with Calvados and Port. It was the best food I've eaten in London so far, and one of my top 20 meals, ever. One would hard pressed to beat the value of the prix-fixe Winter menu at The Warrington.

I would, and will, return again and again, but for this week we are repenting for our monetary and calorific excesses (mostly due to the hooch) with homemade lentil soup. And even once payday rolls around again, there are only 4 more months and about 4 million more restaurants to experience. AND, I haven't even begun to SHOP. With London Fashion Week (and London Fashion Weekend, to which I actually have tickets) around the corner, I think restaurant hopping is going to have some serious competition in the allocation of funds debate. Oh! Speaking of shopping, here's a wardrobe/packing update: have actually worn every sailor-stripey item, some more than once; have worn many of the tagged items and (maybe lentil soup related?) they fit!; have worn the heck out of the two pairs of suitcase space hogging boots.

Three weeks in. So far, sooooooooo good.

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