"That just looks strange"
We had a bit of trouble deciding on a birthday place - trying to strike the balance between good food, a nice atmosphere and reasonable prices is tough stuff. After sifting through pages and pages of Toptable restaurants, we thought it would be wise to consult the all-knowing crystal ball, the oracle that is Facebook.
Friends dropped comments on my S.O.S status update almost immediately and one recommendation stood out: Kettner's. (The fact that the description of the restaurant included the words "Oscar Wilde" and "pudding bar" definitely helped).
29, Romilly Street.
London, W1D 5HP
020 7734 6112
The interior is pretty, clean lines, a little frill here and there and the atmosphere inviting, with the low din of happy chatter.
Crotin of Goats Cheese, Roasted Beetroot, Balsamic Glaze - our vegetarian's choice.
Steamed Cornish Mussels - a generous portion and beautifully flavoured.
Poached duck egg on asparagus, my pick for a starter. If there's something I have to perfect over the summer, it's definitely how to poach an egg. I love a good, creamy yolk and this one was done just the way I like it.
Sapna with her Maldon Oysters with Shallot Vinaigrette, right before she polished them off. They were so good she wasn't in the mood to share though she did stop to tell us that the shallot vinaigrette was fantastic.
Crisp Duck Confit, Spinach, Sarladaise Potatoes. I have a soft spot for duck so picking my main was a bit of a no-brainer for me, and I do have to say that my gut instinct was right on the money. The duck was tender and had a lovely, crispy skin. The soft spinach and thin layers of potato provided a delicious balance to it all.
Some other noteworthy dishes include the roasted vegetable tart (the tart of the day), the crispy seabass and roasted cod as well as the Beef Bourguignon which came with some excellent mashed potatoes.
We couldn't help but notice the plates of pudding that were making their way around the room while we enjoyed our first two courses, including a fantastic looking mille-feuille. Dessert came in the form of a white chocolate and passion fruit mousse cake from Patisserie Valerie, a delightful end to the meal.
Kettner's is a good place for special occasions - the food is generally well cooked, the atmosphere warm and the service excellent. It's definitely a place I'd happily go back to, if only to pick out the mille-feuille from the pudding bar, because really, any place with a pudding bar is worth more than one visit, with Toptable's 50% off promotion (valid on Mondays and Tuesdays), of course.
One for the album - the May babies and the housemates.