Friday Feasting – Part 2

7 Jan

With the three course meal that was to await me later and my freshly bulging belly in mind I made sure to keep my hunger gates open for the rest of the day. I had a light lunch at Bar Chocolate in Soho with my work buddy Kim. She tucked into her Eggs Benedict while I devoured some chilli beef nachos, followed by a handful of chocolate buttons which arrived next to my glass of mulled wine on a slab of wood. I liked the way the slab of said wood managed to disguise the fact that my lunch had consisted of chocolate and crisps through its rustic trendiness.

Needless to say, come 7.30pm I was so hungry I felt as though my belly were digesting itself. My second set of work chums and I started our perilous walk on the icy ground to RSJ – a restaurant hidden round the back of the National Theatre. Once we slid through the door we were greeted immediately by three grinning people, one of whom offered to take us to our table. We were led downstairs passing more staff who were very happy to see us along the way and with an ever-increasing smell of ‘downstairs’ that you so often get downstairs at a restaurant when trying to locate the loo. None the less, my spirits were not dampened as once seated there wasn’t a whiff of toilet anywhere despite it being just round the corner. Our table was in an alcove which gave off the impression that we had a private dining room – much to my work chums’ relief as I distributed a selection of Christmas headgear from my bag.

We were given a set menu which made choosing for me very easy – I’ll have the meat please – and the vegetarians were handed an extra menu should they want to swap any dishes over. I took this as an opportunity to crack some jokes about how they must be spoilt for choice on the wide range of vegetables they had to offer. I laughed but no one else took notice so I made myself busy with the wine list. Pretending I knew what I was talking about I mentioned that the wine selection was meant to be very good here and with that I was encouraged to choose a bottle for the table. Feeling confident I pointed at the cheapest bottle of rouge available and assured everyone that I had made the right decision.

After wolfing down four slices of bread our starters finally arrived. I had picked a salmon rillette which was alright. It was food, I appreciated that, but a couple of weeks on that is about all I can remember of it. It did come with a couple of mini gherkins and a smattering of capers which were particularly memorable purely because I do love a mini gherkin and I could quite happily eat capers straight out of the jar. I find this hard to admit, but I wish I had gone for the veggie starter. Sat in front of me was Emma digging into a goats cheese and shallot tart and I had a rather powerful surge of food envy. It is not a great feeling, looking over on to another plate and wishing you could swap your lump of meat/fish for something without a lump of what generally makes my life worth living.

Having just had my morals and beliefs turned upside down I wasn’t anticipating my main as eagerly as everyone else seemed to be. My plate of duck leg resting on a sizeable lump of mash surrounded by winter veg and drizzled with a raison jus was placed before me. I grazed my fork along the mash and dispensed the fluffy white potato into my mouth – it tasted purely of butter. A massive win in my book. Feeling braver, I cut a small chunk out of the duck leg and noticed with glee the sound of the skin crackling against my knife. It was meaty and moist and rich. Second win. With fervor this time, I eagerly tried the winter veg. The parsnips were so hard I wondered if they had been cooked at all, but by that point I was beyond caring as I had tried the raisin jus. I almost punched the air with my triple win.

This time my usual feeling of superiority over the vegetarians was not because my diet was enriched with meat and theirs was not, but because their meal did not come with a raisin jus. A sweet, smooth, powerful and rich raisin jus. And I know that if I return to RSJ and something comes with the raison jus, I will be sure to order it. And my love for a good sauce continues.

By the time we had got to pudding I was sporting a new piece of Christmas headgear – a one-eyed Father Christmas dancing on a spring – courtesy of my Secret Santa and I discovered that drinking wine alongside a cup of coffee is not a flavour marriage made in heaven. Most of the party had ordered a lemon posset which arrived unset and more like a drink, however, we had all received a packet of Iced Gems in our homemade Christmas crackers which meant that no one lost out.

Full of food and good cheer, we all headed off home in the snow, my partially sighted Father Christmas bobbing his head in festive spirits. Although my belly was full and I couldn’t ever imagine being hungry again, my thoughts drifted to the upcoming meals I would be having in the near future – next stop: Great Queen Street for an annual meet up with friends. Or so I thought…

RSJ Restaurant
33 Coin Street London SE1 9NR
Bar Chocolate
27 D’Arblay Street London W1W 3PF

One Response to “Friday Feasting – Part 2”

  1. Joanna January 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    After watching Julie and Julia I think you are on to a money winner here. Very impressive, and keep up the good work

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