Saturday, July 30, 2011

In a brief diversion from my usual theatrical narcissism, I spent last night at the Crescent Supper Club.

The concept has crept up from London. Exquisite food in lovely relaxed (i.e. not a restaurant) surroundings. The Crescent has just opened its doors. They trialled it with friends two weeks ago, opened to the paying public for the first time last weekend and last night saw the start of round two.

We arrived with a hundred questions in our head. How would they cope with cooking for multiple people simultaneously in a domestic kitchen? Would we get to sit together? (Naomi had studied photos of previous nights and envisaged two separate tables so I burst out of the taxi and ran up the path to ensure that we secured seats together.) Very importantly, how would they fit all the wine (bring your own) in the fridge? And crucially, would we have to talk to Strangers?

The garden path led us up to a lovely proper Edinburgh flat, all polished floorboards, high ceilings, big mirrors, fine art on the walls. The sort of flat I'll surely somehow acquire when I'm grown up.

We were greeted with prosecco and pomegranate seeds. Rounds of introductions. We were four. And then we had a beautiful floppy haired boy, his exceeding cool girlfriend (vintage lace sleeve tattooed onto her upper arm), father of one of the boys that was cooking and an extraordinary lady named Edie Stark and her exceeding elegant husband. So we were nine.

We began with a tiny teacup of gazpacho with a most tomatoey taste. A perfect amuse bouche on a perfect summer's eve.

Then god bless them, I had opted for vegetarian options when most others were carniverous. They hand make as much as is reasonable from locally sourced stuffs - the shopping sounds like it takes days - so I felt particularly guilty that my main course was the only one featuring (laboriously hand ground, I don't doubt) pest0. But it was delicious.

So. Watermelon and feta and balsamic something and some sort of sprouts that should have been alfalfa but were apparently sesame as alfalfa was absent from deceitful Waitrose. Delicious. The others gorged on crab risotto.

Then the nicest gnocchi that I have ever eaten with tiny tomatoes and the hand-ground-for-one pesto and some bean like things I think and some drizzled something. Delicious delicious delicious. And pretty as a picture. Though not as pretty as the otherwise universal duck with beetroot and something else that turned out to be one of the prettiest dishes I've seen on a table for a long time.

Flourless chocolate tart with margarita creamy stuff and a tiny delicate curl of lime completed the feast. Even the banana sorbet with a lovely spicy pepper was delicious. And I despise banana.

And then coffee and (now needless to say) delicious shortbread.

Bring your own wine to fix the licensing problem so we had some sparking South African, a couple of viogniers and a pinot noir. A fine hangover fixer.

An extraordinarily exquisite meal cooked by a boy who should be far too young to serve up such stuffs. So all the makings of a wonderful evening.

What I had not counted on ("pray to god I don't have to talk to strangers - I couldn't bear that") was the niceness of the encounter with Strangers.

I was sat at the Edie / husband end of the table. And they were both beautifully charming, beautifully entertaining people. To the extent that I now want them to adopt me as an accessory to their entourage.

I chair hopped to spend a little time with photographer father and he started out working on Smash Hits. Star struck.

The two boys - of whose brains this idea was the child - were liberated from the confines of the kitchen once the coffee was served, joined us at the table and continued to be as handsomely charming as their FOH attendance had suggested. A brother appeared, a girlfriend appeared, the mother joined in. All beautiful.

The downside was that I scarcely spoke to my own friends but as I can see my own friends any time I like (though I know they'd dispute this), that matters much less.

I shall be going back. The danger with this is that Edie at al might not be there. And I'm not certain that I could cope with the disappointment.


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