I turn 40 at the end of November. I’m not phased by the prospect of it, but instead of my usual birthday request of taking the day off and doing nothing except watching my favourite films and eating my favourite food I wanted to do something special to actually acknowledge it.
Last week I was invited to sample the new ‘Gin & Tea’ afternoon tea at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill at the top of the iconic ‘The Cube’ in Birmingham. I’ve visited the restaurant before (the chocolate mousse is amazing), and while I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge gin enthusiast, I was intruiged to see how it had been infused into the individual elements of the food.
One of the best features of the restaurant are the fabulous 360-degree views of the city from the 25th floor, so I was delighted when we were shown to a table with crisp, white linen and a window seat. We were the first to arrive for the start of service, and so it was a particularly quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
We were offered a Pink Gin cocktail (we both chose lemonade instead of tonic) made with Beefeater gin. The unexpected surprise was how much I actually enjoyed this – the gin wasn’t too strong and I liked the large glasses. Who knows? Perhaps I might now be a gin person? Continue reading
It was Mother’s Day here in the UK yesterday, and my sisters and I decided to do something a little different this year. My youngest sister booked us a table at 47 King Street West, an upmarket French and British restaurant in Manchester, for a champagne afternoon tea.
The British are renowned for being tea drinkers, but in my little family there are 50% of us that don’t like it, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. A number of my friends have indulged in similar experiences at various expensive London hotels, but despite my curiosity it had always been something a little out of my price range.
We were greeted by the manager upon arrival, our coats were taken and hung up and we were shown to our table. Even though it was busy, it didn’t feel cramped or overcrowded, and the noise level was reasonably quiet for a busy restaurant. I hadn’t really eaten breakfast, and didn’t think that the food would be enough to satisfy my hunger, but I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived. We were presented with a selection of beautiful sandwiches (salmon, tuna, egg, and hummus and olive) scones, cakes and sorbets, and we took great delight in sharing everything around. The atmosphere was calm and relaxed, the staff were superb and, despite not being a champagne drinker, I discovered that it was delicious. I also decided to treat myself to my two favourite cocktails: a Mojito, followed by a Amaretto Sours. They were strong, and I found that after the second one I was feeling a little bit squiffy, to the point where my mother noticed.
It was a wonderful afternoon. After years of being estranged from each other in various different ways and resolving our issues towards the end of last year, this was the first Mother’s Day in that we all spent together and genuinely enjoyed each others company. We talked, we laughed, we ate lots of beautiful food and had a really good time. I left afterwards to catch a train home, and my sisters took my mother shopping for a present.
It is certainly something that I would consider doing again, although perhaps I’d go a little easier on the cocktails next time… Or then again, who could resist this:
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