Everyone loves a bit of luxury once in a while. Whether it’s wearing some classy piece of clothing or jewellery, or a nice watch maybe, or driving a nice car. There’s no escaping it, it makes you feel good.
Some years ago one of my ambitions was to eat in a recognised fine dining restaurant. Not just a step up, but a HUGE step up.
For my birthday one year, my wife treated us to a weekend in London, including tickets to a show and lunch at The Ivy in Covent Garden.
I can’t even remember what I chose for my meal but I do recall we shared a baked alaska for dessert which was brought to our table and set alight. ( My Top 5 London Restaurants)
But why choose a top class restaurant?
Service in a top-end restaurant is like nothing you’ve experienced before. These waiters are proper professionals. Chairs are pulled out for you to be seated, linen napkins are laid out on your lap.
The sommelier will advise you on the wine choices and don’t worry even though there may be bottles on the wine list for £1000’s there are always some affordable and very good wines too and don’t even think about refilling your wine glass, someone will be over to do it for you.
The people preparing the food in these places are ‘chefs’ not ‘cooks’, they are chefs and they know exactly what they are doing. These people take time to choose ingredients that are in season, complement each other and taste amazing. In these restaurants, you won’t be getting defrosted, microwaved food. You are getting freshly prepared, beautifully constructed and tasty food. And the food is seasoned properly, so don’t go covering it with salt and pepper.
I’m a real lover of trying new things, ok, maybe sometimes it doesn’t work but I’ve had some superb dishes; steak tartare, foie gras, pigeon breast, quails eggs, pheasant, lobster, partridge and guinea fowl to name a few. The sauces are also incredible, rich and unctuous.These are sauces that have been reduced and tasted until they are perfect.
I enjoy eating in good restaurants. I enjoy drinking nice wine BUT I’m not a millionaire. I can’t afford to be doing this every week. So when we do eat in a good restaurant we want it to be worthwhile and a good bottle of wine is worth buying to add to your meal. I’m a fan of red wine, a decent Merlot or Cabernet and I particularly enjoy South African wines. Five reasons why South Africa should be your next holiday destination
If you’re treating yourself and your partner it’s nice to make it an occasion and going to a decent restaurant is exactly that. I love to get into my suit and tie and make a special effort when we go out somewhere really good.
When you eat in a good restaurant, the other people there are there for the same reason. They enjoy the food, the wine and the service. Anyone can make a meal at home and some people can do a really good job of it, but what better way to spend an evening than with like-minded people being pampered and spoilt eating exquisite food and drinking good wine.
Like with anything of luxury, the cost is whatever you want it to be. Expect to spend two or three times more than you would if you were out at your local restaurant at least and if you want to push the boat out then maybe four or five times more. Personally, I have found that even the best restaurants I’ve been to will cater for someone not wanting to go overboard on price.
Life is made up of experiences and memories and what better way of creating a memory than eating out at a top restaurant. As far as luxury goes we don’t all need to drive, we don’t all need the best watches but we do all need to eat, so why not save up, have a look at what’s on offer in your area and push the boat out.
If you’re in London here are some that I’ve tried and can recommend;
The Ivy, Covent Garden
Le Caprice, Piccadilly
Galvin at Windows, Hilton Park Lane
Babylon Roof Gardens, Kensington
Roux at The Landau
Craft at the O2