Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Perks of getting older? Birthday times : LOCAL LOVES

It was my birthday at the weekend and celebrations started on Thursday with a gorgeous dinner with my dad at the Oxo Tower - what a treat. He has taken my mum and sister there already so he was saving the best 'til last, obviously.

We rolled up in our taxi, zipped up to the 8th floor in the lift and took in that cracking view...

London, you total babe. Just look at it! We were lucky enough to get a table by the window so I spent the entire night perving on St Pauls and oggling The Shard. If you ever go there I'd really recommend pushing for a window table - it really is breathtaking. And if you don't manage to get one you can always ask to be moved once you spy a table becoming available. A hilarious couple did just that when we were there and all I heard from him once they sat down was "Well, if I was going to propose you've ruined it now! Stop asking!" - brilliant stuff!

We swooped down on the cocktail menu as soon as our bums hit the seats. I went for a 'Brief Encounter' which was... Absolut Vanilia vodka & rhubarb liqueur shaken with fresh lemon juice & Harvey Nichols lavender honey. Topped with OXO Brut Champagne. Yum. Dad went for the one that was most like a pudding, he's such a chocoholic. It was called 'A Room with a View' and it was... A decadent mix of Sipsmith London Dry gin, Kirsch eau de vie, Chocolate bitters & cherry sugar syrup. Charged with OXO Brut Champagne. House brandied cherry. Both were absolutely gorgeous.

The food was equally brilliant - the portions are just right, making sure that you have room for pud perfectly! I went for a roasted artichoke bruschetta to start and Dad had venison ragu. Mine had these scrummy peppers that only one in twenty five of are spicy. Wellll guess who got a spicy one?! It blew my socks off.

On to mains, Pops had sea bass and I went for chicken with spinach gnocci that had goats cheese in the centre. Like a present on your plate! The sea bass had some of that fancy foam on it that is so popular in smart restaurants at the mo. I'm more off a gravy girl myself so I was chuffed when my chicken arrived swimming in the stuff.

Then came the best course of all - pud! Dad and I really struggled to pick this one, the options were so brilliant! After much deliberation I went for caramelised pear with a filo and mascarpone tower and Dad opted for a vanilla panna cotta with spiced pear and madeleines. Some how the lovely Oxo team found out that we were celebrating my birthday so my pudding was extra specially presented!

During the meal dad gave me one little early (expertly wrapped...) pressie - a Juice Cube! I found out about these from one of FleurdeForce's lovely videos - take a look here - skip to four minutes. It's basically a portable battery for your phone that you pop into your handbag and pull out whenever you're low on juice and miles from a plug socket. I'm a secret gadget geek at heart and really love this. They're £24.95 and you can get them here and yes, they do more manly colours than the bright pink that I have!

Sorry - enough pressie chat, we were talking about fancy food and this cracking restaurant weren't we? The atmosphere there is brilliant, just as incredible as The Harwood Arms of last week but so different. It's very funky and the ambiance is really jazzed up by the live music. This was provided by two gorgeous guys, one on an acoustic guitar and one on the bongos. My lovely friend Sophie was at the Oxo the night before and they had an electric guitar and a double bass! Everything is lit in cool blue and purple light which is kept nice and low so that you can really suck in that view.

I absolutely loved my dinner at the Oxo Tower and it should definitely go on your list of special places to visit - it's ready made for a celebration!

So what does this particularly well fed Londoner suggest this time?

- Get yourself along to the Oxo! The food is divine and the view is even better. It's a real London gem.

- Go to one of the other sky high restaurants in the city to get a proper peek at the big smoke in all it's glory. There is...
     - Oblix at The Shard - 32nd floor, blimey.
     - Duck and Waffle at The Heron Tower - a whopping forty floors up!
     - Sushisamba at The Heron Tower - sitting snugly one floor below.
     - Paramount at Centre Point - this bad boy offers a 360-degree view. Wow wee.