60. Just a number. Glad to join the club. Your health is centrally important – and to all my friends who are fighting stuff at the moment, I am always thinking about you and am in awe of your positivity.
Also central to any big celebration – food! Its why we call these gatherings ‘a feast’. Well, we feasted!! (That is a word – in spell check….who knew?)
Panoramic 34. So called because you have panoramic views over my home town of Liverpool. And it’s on the 34th floor of an apartment block. You can see miles out over the Mersey to the Irish Sea, and all the towns south of the river, as well as a gorgeous vista over Liverpool itself.
We were an intimate family dinner, and a couple of old friends (“Less of the old!”). The a la carte menu is worth a look. We split into 2 camps. The Scallops and the Pork Belly to start (although my sister had Textures of Beetroot – have a look!).
I had to have the scallops. I do like anything sea foodie – and one of my pressies was a day at Rick Steins Cookery School. Cant wait to learn how not to overcook a scallop! They already knew here…I love pea with scallops. The freshness hits hard. And cumin foam – so delicate as to be almost not there – rather than overpowering as many are. Pork belly suited our big meat eaters. And Keith even ate the caramelised turnip puree – even though it just might have been healthy! had a bit of plate envy seeing the textures of beetroot…but hey, you can’t have everything, even on your birthday!
Just as all good food should do, silence descended. Followed by the sigh of many a foodgasm! (That is not in spell check, and I apologise to those of a nervous disposition….). It really was big, tasty presented stunningly, and smelt divine.
So – mains anyone? Two main groups. Beef fillet. And Pan Fried Turbot. The Beef – plus pickled onion royale, pressing of potato, heritage carrots and pale ale poached onions. And my, did that sing. Just reverential silence. The Turbot had crab and lemon grass consomme – which didn’t overpower (not like sometimes when I have had the like – some chefs seem heavy handed on the stronger flavour. I want the fish to be the boss – and it certainly was here). Served with clever simplicity – Spinach and Celeriac and Crab Remoulade (whatever that was, it looked and tasted great!).
Oh, and yes, we did do pudding, after sharing a couple of cheese plates between us first – like the french still do. I can’t remember what everyone else had (I don’t have a copy of the bill – thanks Janie!). I had to have the Pistachio and Teff Grain bread. Mainly because I had no idea what Teff Grain Bread was! Pistachio, chocolate, Chantilly cream and chocolate ice cream. With me now?
What a way to spend a big birthday. The staff were just superb. From initial contact through the many changes to the front of house on the night – to the chefs and kitchen gangs – all of the highest quality.
Thanks team – and thanks to all who could join me – and especially to Janie for organising it all.