18 November 2013

Yet More Birthday Celebrations

OK, I'm now officially birthday-ed out for another year, and I feel like I've eaten enough food this weekend to last for the rest of the month. Still, Saturday started virtuously with a brief Doughnut Club run, followed by a Monmouth coffee rather than a doughnut. Since I moved to Bermondsey and have talked about my frequent visits to Maltby Street, my parents have been wanting to see what all the fuss about, so they drove in late on Saturday morning and we went to check it out.

It was really busy — even busier than I've seen it for a while — although it was a sunny, if cold, day and we were a little later than usual. After scanning our food options, most of us decided to brave the queue for Reuben sandwiches at Monty's Deli. We probably waited an hour in the end, and just before we ordered, they ran out of salt beef, which meant pastrami-only sandwiches. After ordering it's still another 15 minutes or so before you get your food (they really need another grill or two), and just before we got our food, they announced that the pastrami was all gone too. This at least meant the rest of us were able to find seats while we ate our lunch. The Reuben was really good — definitely worth the wait — even if I could only manage a half-sandwich.

We then went to hang out at Little Bird for some fruity gin cocktails. I always get distracted by the gin bloody mary and the berry cocktail, so today I made myself try their Perfect G and T, which comes with pink grapefruit. Perfect is quite the claim, but this G and T really was damn good.

In the afternoon, we drove with my parents into the West End, trying to work out what movie was going to be filming in St James's Square, where we parked (Theory of Everything, it turned out), and then did a little bit of shopping before heading our separate ways to get ready for dinner.

We ate at Magdalen on Tooley Street, with two of our friends joining us for dinner. In terms of service and celebration-friendly, Magdalen was the absolute opposite of Chop Shop, and we had a lovely evening with the wine flowing freely. The menu is British, but a little quirky, so after my smoked salmon and poached egg starter, I had braised shoulder of wild boar with mash for my main course. It was slightly out of my comfort zone but really good. I was too full for a proper pudding, but the chef etched a birthday greeting in chocolate on the plate of salted caramel chocolates we ordered for me anyway. I did also manage a glass of whiskey, figuring that at 30, it's about time I learned to appreciate it.

My parents then headed back to their hotel, while the rest of us walked down Bermondsey Street to 214, the underground gin bar at Antico restaurant. You don't have to like gin to drink there, but it helps, and I had a fab, fruity raspberry purée G and T, which meant that I was sleeping soundly within moments of lights out.

Sunday morning started somewhat more virtuously, with a trip to the gym and Turkish baths at the Royal Automobile Club, before we went for brunch at Le Caprice. I really should have had something healthy but Le Caprice's burgers are excellent: juicy, meaty and perfectly medium rare. And then when I saw the dessert menu, I realised I was going to have to have the iced popcorn and salted caramel bar — a sort of semifreddo with a chewy caramel base, salted caramel sauce and a popcorn garnish. Beautiful and delicious. Le Caprice also manages to be both friendly and stylish. The perfect place for a smart-casual weekend brunch.

Birthday season is now officially over in my family, so I'd better stock up on veggies and salad before Christmas rolls around.

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