36 Gloucester Road
Tel: 020 7584 1118
Date of Last Visit: Saturday, March 3, 2007
The Victims: K&A
The Damage: £60+
The Background: I haven’t seen K&A in ages. They’ve been skiing in France. K’s been in NY for her brother’s birthday and for work. They’ve been to Paris for a wedding. They’ve been sick and are on antibiotics.
Or maybe they’re just avoiding me.
But really, I’ve been missing their sound counsel, so it was more than time for a meet-up. I suggested Le Gavroche because it was time for my annual treat to myself. They demured and suggested L’etranger instead. I was bummed, but only for about five seconds.
The Arrival: I am wearing new black patent leather shoes from Spice Shoes on Upper Street. I am fascinated by their cuteness. So too the staff at L’etranger. I arrive and am greeted by a flury of French…I understand only "shoes" and "glossy" and "pretty." (Asked to provide the French equivalent, I cannot. I cannot understand my non-verbal fluency in other languages.) I look down. I look up. We are all grinning at my shoes. It is a moment. And honestly, never have I been greeted so warmly in a restaurant. (Proving, perhaps, that clothes–or shoes–do make the woman?)
The Drink: A kir royale, of course.
The Sommelier: Is the cutest person ever. When it becomes obvious that my two companions are on antibiotics and a bottle is not in the question, he gladly fetches me a glass of–dare I say–Chilean white! (I did not want to order Chilean! He did! I was only following his advice.) He is obviously of the school that is just there to be helpful–regardless of how much you’re paying. And he was wearing a suit of some of the sharpest tailoring I’ve ever seen. Honestly, he was so fantastic that I composed an (albeit Chilean-influenced) thank you e-mail to the restaurant when I returned home later that evening.)
The Starters: Are beautiful. I have the spicy squid–we called it fried galamard on Long Island. (That’s calamari in Long-Islandish.) I forget now what A had, but I think he was happy with it. Oh wait–now I remember–it was lobster. Lobster and something…it looked fantastic…it had big tall stringy things coming off it…
The Mains: I had the chilean sea bass, based on the reviews I read online. This was a meal for thin girls, and I mean this in the best possible way. It was really really nice. But I needed some more carbs. Honestly, the sea bass was wonderfully and perfectly cooked. And the soba noodles were really nice. But I was peckish. (Ohhh…I am so English. I’m peckish??? Where the hell did that come from?) And I was INSANELY jealous of Kristi’s wagu beef. Now that looked great. It came with croquettas–and something else which again escapes me but I’ve just found the menu online, and now I understand why K&A were insistent about paying more than me per person when the bill came at the end of the night, despite their lack of beverages…
The Dessert: We split the chocolate platter. Now I don’t know how one person was supposed to eat all of this, because it was seriously five different types of chocolate all served together. There was a fondant with strawberries in it. There was a mousse in a shotglass. There was fruity tart of some sort. Here, let me just recite the description: Chocolate Fondant, Trio of white, dark and milk chocolate Parfait, Earl Grey Pot de Crème, Green Tea Ice Cream, White Chocolate and Passion Fruit Mousse.
More than enough for one, no?
The Loos: Seriously, the best I have ever been to in London. Clean. Neat. They smelled SO clean. I wish my flat smelled that good. You could eat off the floor. Great tilework. Great mirrors. Very classy.
The Verdict: One of my nicest meals in London. Maybe even THE nicest. I’m serious.