My birthday falls on the coldest, most depressing month of the year – January. Not only is everyone broke after Christmas, but most are marking #DryJanuary, which doesn’t leave much scope for celebratory drinks… which is why I make it a point to celebrate it even more, doing something that I love most (eating) and with someone I love most (well, you know who that is)!
This year, my birthday fell smack bang in the middle of the week, so there wasn’t any scope for a weekend getaway. So on my birthday, I decided to make a foodie day out of it.
Birthday Brunch – The Table
Luckily, I get a day off from work so the first thing I did on my birthday was to have a lie-in. As one grows older, one has to enjoy life’s little pleasures and for me, it’s that extra hour in a warm bed knowing you don’t have to wake up.
The first stop was brunch at the The Table Cafe. I was coming back to it after years and remember it being one of our favourite brunch hangouts in London, long before Instagram influenced our dining decisions. The modern menu offers dishes beyond the usual fry ups and avo-on-toasts, although you can order those if you wanted to.
We gorged on the following:
The Trotter Benedict | Black Pudding & Bacon, English Muffin, homemade Hollandaise
All-day Breakfast Pancake | Bacon, Pork & Leek Sausage & Scrambled Egg
The Trotter Benedict was sensational. There was a nice texture to the black pudding and all the ingredients were cooked perfectly. But it was my pancake that truly blew me away. Rather than two standard pancakes, I got one huge, plump, spongy version, drizzled with maple syrup then topped with creamy scrambled eggs, flavourful sausage and the crispiest of bacon. The combination was just superb. Of course, we ordered some fizz to go with it all. After our recent experience, this place has definitely jumped back towards the top of our list of recommended brunch places in London.
Birthday Bubbles – Cakes and Bubbles
I have been meaning to visit Cakes & Bubbles ever since the euphoria surrounding its opening began. The midweek birthday was a perfect excuse to tick it off the list whilst dodge the weekend crowds.
We were initially only here to have some pre-dinner champagne and try their famous cheesecake, but our lovely hostess coaxed us into trying some of the Sweet Bites. We tried the Frozen Coconut and Chocolate Flower. It was quite a marvel in the making and tasted of crisp, minty, delicate chocolate that softly crumbled inside your mouth, leaving a pleasant sensation.
The main event – the Cheesecake (with coulommiers cheese, hazelnut and white chocolate) – had both sweet and savoury notes. I liked it but almost wished it was fully savoury. Overall, I enjoyed C&B but wasn’t blown over. The whole visit was also quite pricey (for two drinks, two bites and one cheesecake we paid £50) so perhaps good for novelty and for celebratory occasions.
Birthday Dinner – Clos Maggiore
Kris had so far successfully managed to keep the location of my birthday dinner venue secret from me. So when the time came for the big reveal, I was overjoyed. Clos Maggiore is one of the most romantic restaurants in London and has been on my bucket list for yonks. The fact that it is a French restaurant further ticks my box, as I simply love French food. CM is a great restaurant for a celebratory occasion. We opted for two indulgent and refined courses, which included:
Cheek of Spanish Black Pig Cooked in Rioja Wine | Fresh Pasta, Smoked Bacon, Mushrooms & Baby Onions ‘Burgundy Style’
‘Marcellin’s Heritage’ Shoulder of Loire Valley Rabbit | Sweet & Sour Black Radish, Wholegrain Mustard Mousseline
Slow Cooked Shoulder of Milk Fed Lamb from the Pyrénées Mountains | Goat’s Cheese Polenta & Grilled Fennel, Caper and Raisin Purée, Lamb Jus
Please excuse the quality of the photos, as it was a date night rather than a blogging expedition and being a romantic restaurant, dim lighting was at play. But the food was flamboyantly cooked, beautifully presented and tasted delicious. Staff were charming and served with finesse, although at times it felt the food arrived a little too quickly. The prices were again on the extravagant side but Clos Maggiore was worth experiencing at least once.
Birthday Cocktails – Dandelyan
After our splendid meal at Clos Maggiore (and a few too many glasses of wine later), I did not have much room left for dessert. BUT there is always room for cocktails! A perfect day deserves a perfect ending so we rounded off my birthday with a nightcap at the cult favorite Dandelyan to get a taste of their world class drinks before it closes down in March to pave way for a new venture. Staff were warm, welcoming and on top of their game in terms of knowing about the good stuff. The cocktails arrived with innovative twists, intriguing textures and unique taste sensations.
Space Fix | Courvoisier VSOP, Yellow Pepper Sherry, Sparkling Passion Fruit Wine
Concrete Sazerac | Martel Cordon Bleu & VSOP, fermented Peychaud, Absinthe, Concrete
And with that, another birthday celebration came to a close. I had a fabulous day and with so much packed into the itinerary, I was glad everything fell into place so neatly. Big thanks to Kris who organised it all – the boy did good!
N.B. All photos and opinions are mine.