When you have been married for a long time, it’s so easy so slip into a humdrum routine of chores, bickering about what TV Channel to watch and what to have for dinner. It usually ends in our house with “I picked last time”, “No, I picked last time”. “Damn.”
It go to such a point 6 months ago, that I crossed fortnightly Thursday evenings ou as date night, scoured Pinterest for interesting ideas (like a jar full of suggestions that you pick out at random) and full of enthusiasm we did a few things; a picnic in the park, went for dinner and a movie, even managed a night of ten pin bowling. This lasted for about a month before we found ourselves rearranging it for other plans, and never quite actually getting around to spending that time together.
Disclaimer: We dined partially as guests of Gallery Mess but all of my very, very many thoughts
are only ever my own…
When we visited Gallery Mess, I managed to leave my blogger tools at home (either of my cameras would have been helpful) so relying heavily upon our wedding vows of “in sickness and in health, for better or for worse” – because internet-based distress is a thing, right? – and our phone cameras, we found ourselves in settling into an evening of summer sunshine, right on the edge of Duke of York Square in Chelsea.
We started as all good meals do with a glass of South African Chenin Blanc and bread quirkily served in a distressed denim pouch (unfortunately we were spoilt recently with endless supply of amazing olive bread at The Winter Garden) with just the right amount of whipped butter sprinkled with rock salt, we perused the menu.
Well, I say we read the menu, but having decided what he fancied at 8am the morning before, after quizzing our waiter, I went for the classic and scrumptious asparagus with a poached duck egg, and Mr Kiwi stuck with his morning choice of Spinach and cream soup.
Now, I will warn you that neither dishes are first date territory – the soup was lovely ‘with cheese and something nutty’ and disappeared quickly (I claimed wifely rights of a spoonful, I’m pretty sure that was in our vows as well) and my English asparagus with a duck egg and miso was gorgeously seasoned, though again a touch messy to eat. But, this is the joy of married life. There are no secrets, except occasionally how many drinks you’ve had at “brunch” or “afternoon tea” that somehow lasts until 11.30pm.
Ordering his beef fillet (a default meal – he’s almost as bad as me and my eggs benedict) medium-well, it came out well done, but again disappeared with glee. The accompanying mushroom and tomato was much lauded, and the new potatoes full of simple flavour. Nothing showy, just perfectly, simply cooked. (That said, he did prefer the meltingly good fillet at Avista and Hawksmoor.)
I couldn’t resist the lamb rump, which was a little tough in places but full of flavour, served on a bed of Israeli couscous & Provençal vegetables. With a side of honeyed carrots which were delicious, I may have
stolen been forced to swap them for a few new potatoes which went a little better than the couscous – but that’s simply a personal preference. I’m just not a fan of bitty forkfuls – Quinoa, nah. Orzo, no thanks. Thoughrice, with a curry = perfection #firstworldproblems
And then we had this. My otherwise well behaved & trained instagram husband thought it hilarious to barge my elbows as I tries quickly, subtly take a snap. Chortling with wicked glee (and forgetting that he would soon be unconscious, I mean asleep next to me) we eventually giggled our way to a truce. (Or so he thinks – revenge is a dish best served cold.)
However, BEST CHEESECAKE EVER. It was rich, thick and creamy and probably added 3 inches to my hips. And I don’t care. I ordered cheesecake the other day, and received a sponge cake/whipped cheesecake combination which although nice in itself didn’t blow my socks off (whilst still adding those inches). Served with an orange sauce providing a mostly sweet, slightly bitter counterpoint which was delicious.
Despite the title, I haven’t really mentioned the romance. I guess the secret to our long marriage so far (though refer to the above incident) which is laughter. It’s the key to my in-laws 60 years of wedded bliss, and how we keep each other smiling through the hard times in life.
The restaurant itself is an adjunct of the Saatchi gallery run by the rhubarb team. It’s all brickwork archways, sprays of white blossom giving Clos Maggiore a run for date money, candles on each of the tables and with almost an entire wall made of glass, with the late afternoon sunlight streaming through.
Being so close to the whimsically infamous gallery, there are are number of quirky artworks lining the walls: a cheeky naked lady neon, an enormous beaten metal shoe, prints lining the walls – even the bathrooms have been turned into art with a long time installation of soap bricks. A winning date night could well be a visit to the Saatchi Gallery (showing culture) and taking in a meal at Gallery Mess (a beautiful re-imaging of the soldiers mess.) We had only visited for brunch, coffee and cocktails under the summer umbrellas which seem to be more the focus. They have a rather good set menu as most restaurants tend to now have.
We had sunshine, a lovely drop of wine and could stare moon-eyed at each other over the tinkling of glass – at least before and after the brief spell of glaring.