Since it was my first night back in London, I thought I’d take Grandma and Papa Bridges on a night out on the town.
Inside the InterContinental Hotel, there it was. We were warmly greeted by the lovely staff there and after deciding against having a drink at the bar first, we were shown to our table. Although the bar did look gorgeous.
As did the rest of the place.
We were then presented with a plate of zucchini fritters, which were battered very lightly. I don’t really like things that are too fried, so it was absolutely perfect.
My girl started herself off with a margarita. I’ve never heard so many questions asked when ordering. On the rocks or straight up? Salt or sugar rim? Half or full rim? I’m not saying that it’s bad or anything – it was so nice that they went into detail to get it just right! I’ve never even heard of a sugar rim for a margarita.
I started myself off with a glass of champagne. I was celebrating being back in London. Or any excuse, really.
Papa Bridges then ordered a lovely bottle of red. He claims you need to have a good wine with a good dinner.
And there Theo was! We had a lovely chat and catch-up, distracting him from the kitchen. I told him about my problem – I had absolutely no idea what to go for, and if you read my blog often then you’ll know that usually I’ll ask what’s recommended and lean towards that. He then very kindly went into lots of detail of the best dishes. The only problem was, this was a lot of dishes – more or less the entire menu – and everything sounded so good. I ended up in an even bigger pickle than I was in before!
Eventually, we made our decision and there was no looking back. I wasn’t worried – I was confident anything we ordered would be fantastic anyway. Theo mentioned how the quality of the ingredients is the key to all the dishes. And fresh means delicious.
We optimised our choices by sharing all 3 starters.
The one starter that we had to order, no questions asked, was the Cape Sante – pan fried scallops with grilled aubergines, zucchini, peppers, parsley and capers. I’ve had a lot, a lot, of scallops before. I can 100% say that these are by far the best I’ve ever had. Theo said that they get them fresh every morning, and they’re still wriggling around when they arrive at the restaurant.
Although the scallops were my personal highlight, the other two were so, so good. The second dish was the Insalata di Granchio – fresh Devon crab with Florence fennel, dandelion, radicchio, and Sardinian Bottarga.
Last but not least, the Carpaccio di Branzino – carpaccio of wild sea bass with chilli, marjoram, datterini tomatoes and Amalfi lemons. It was a lovely thick cut carpaccio. The table was filled with lots of mmm’s and ahh’s.
By the time we’d managed to stop raving about the starters, our mains had come out. I know summer is approaching and everything and pasta shouldn’t be on my mind, but we’re in an Italian restaurant and Theo said how good the Linguine con Aragosta (linguine with Dorset blue lobster, San Marzano tomatoes, parsley and fresh chilli) was. I love lobster. And who am I kidding, I love pasta.
Grandma went with the Fegato di Vitello – pan fried calves liver with pancetta, sage, swiss chard, lentils, balsamic vinegar and crème fraîche. I’ve never tried pan fried calves liver before until then, but Grandma loves it. What a woman.
Dad went with Theo’s recommendation of the Costata di manzo – Aberdeen Angus rib eye steak (medium rare) with red wine, Cannellini beans, Italian spinach, Porcini mushrooms and salsa d’erbe. I was lucky enough to steal a bite of this as well. Steak can get a bit chewy for me sometimes, but it was full of flavour which I (and obviously, he) enjoyed.
Dad’s came with some cheeky sides anyway, but we got an extra Italian spinach for me and some mashed potatoes, which we ordered because the waitress said everyone here loves it.
There were no regrets with my decision.
After we’d licked our plates clean, we noticed they laid some little plates in front of us. I thought this was a little strange since we hadn’t ordered anything. Something was up.
Theo then came out to tell us he was treating us to some dessert. I think that was the happiest moment I’d experienced all week. Actually, the happiest moment was when I saw these…
You need another angle shot. They were works of beauty. As I tried each one, I thought I’d found the best. Then as soon as I tried the next, they got better and better until I had to declare that there was no winner and the only option I had was to eat them all (all 3 of us were basically in war with each other).
The first treat was a pannacotta, followed by the most gorgeous lemon tart (Grandma’s favourite of the night). Next was ricotta cheesecake with pears, marinated in Marsala and vanilla, which the sounds of wouldn’t usually appeal to me but it was so good! After that was the soft chocolate cake, which was absolutely out of this world. Flourless chocolate cake can be super dense but it was so light and fluffy, a bit like a mousse cake. Lastly was the prune and almond tart, which was warm and just everything you want in a prune and almond tart.
We were also spoiled with Blood Orange Sorbet – easily the best sorbet I’ve had.
This was all topped off with a glass of Moscato, which is a sweet, after-dinner wine. And you know how much I love that.
One of the best dinners I’ve had, not only because of the food, but because of how much of a princess I felt throughout. I’m not sure my Dad has ever been so proud. Thank you Theo for such a lovely night!