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Friday, November 28, 2003

Analouk and Mela, first two meals in London

The first day in London started out quite nice. I got into central London and settled into the flat by 9am. The first stop of the day was a walk to Planet Organic, to stock my empty fridge with some food. Simon met me for lunch in MY neighbourhood for a change. We ended up at Analouk for a nice if not spectacular Lebanese meal. My jetlag may have had something to do with my lack of enthusiasm toward the normally nice food at the place.

Max met up with us later for a jaunt to Chinatown to survey available ingredients for our Thai feast the next day chez les Finches. Then Simon and I ended the day with dinner at Mela.

This was my first time at Mela. Apparently Simon had been in talks with the chef to publish a cookbook, so they took great care of us. I had the most spectacular dish of roasted quail in tomato masala called Bater Khada Masala. This and Robuchon's caille caramelisée are two of my favorite quail dishes of the year. We also had a Malabari seafood stew which I adored. It came with fresh mussels, scallops and prawns in a spicy and coconutty sauce heavily scented with coriander. Yum.

The funniest thing about the evening was the bottle of wine Simon picked for our dinner. He chose this Argentinian Malbec, touting that it was a lovely wine that would go well with our spicy Indian meal. The wine came, it was indeed nice. After pouring our wine, the waiter settled the bottle right in front of me. Being an avid reader that I am, I couldn't help but notice a description on the label at the back of the bottle. It said something to the tune of, “this is a nice and light wine suitable for women and those unused to wine.” Simon and I had a good laugh over it. When I told my other London friends about it, they thought it must have been satire. I didn't think so, that label was dead serious and not intended to be funny in the slightest. Don't you love those chauvinistic Argentineans? :-)

On the way out of the restaurant the M.D handed me a small packet. I didn't pay much attention to it, thinking it was probably a biscuit or something. Only after I returned home that I found out that he had given me some nice Indian bracelets. How sweet. Next time I am there I must thank him properly.


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