My boyfriend’s fast approaching birthday and my recent promotion has got me thinking about celebration dinners and the type of restaurants/venues best suited to such events.
The promotion was celebrated with an impulse decision to drink a good bottle of Rioja and eat authentic southern Spanish tapas dishes in my favourite and incredibly local tapas bar, Pinchito. The tapas in Pinchito is reliably good but it is more the laid back atmosphere, charming service and bar style layout which I love and made this the perfect choice for an impromptu ‘Cheers. To you’ dinner.
Whilst on the subject of Pinchito, it is worth mentioning that as well as their Brighton and Old Street restaurants, the Pinxito Group has recently opened its newest offering on Tottenham Court Road. I have yet to visit although I have been told it is just as good, if not lacking some of the intimacy of the Old Street one. Definitely worth a visit – recommend the patatas bravas, tortilla and hangar steak (all on the standard menu).
Turning my attention to the boyfriend’s birthday dinner however, with a week to decide on and book a restaurant, I am torn between going for an old favourite or attempting to find somewhere new, unusual even. The type of place that will not only offer a menu from which you find it near on impossible to decide because you could eat it all, and the kind of atmosphere which perfectly suits the occasion.
For my last birthday, we went for the unknown option, although it had been recommended by a friend, and really pushed the boat out with a five course taster menu at The Providores Restaurant in Marylebone. It was amazing and a cut above the type of food either of us are used to, although we were reminded of this rather glaringly in the bill! On the downside, although the restaurant is immaculately presented it is a little too starched white linen, and minimal decoration with a clientele to match. As suited and booted as we were we still felt a little out-of-place next to our fellow diners, most of whom were at least twenty years our senior and making polite conversation in their hushed RP accents. The kind of place to get drunk, stand on the table and end up in tears at the passing of anther year it was not. This review by Jay Rayner for the Observer perfectly sums it up although it is from 2001!
So with this in mind, I am looking for a mid-priced establishment, complete with friendly/lively atmosphere, good wine selection and menu which requires some serious deliberation (in a good way)…any suggestions dear readers?
I’ll keep you updated on the search as I’m currently stumped.
Once again, I only remembered to take a picture in Pinchinto at the end of the meal so I’ve included some lovely snaps shamelessly pinched from the Pinchito website.