Happy New Year

Posted: January 1, 2012 in About Me, life
Tags: ,

It was on a cold wet December afternoon when I stumbled upon a crumpled up piece of paper on the kitchen work surface. It hadn’t been there last night, well I didn’t think it had been there last night. My intrigue got the better of me and so I un-wrapped it, flattened it out and began to read. It was a piece from the Metro. The free paper that are found upon public transport. It must have grabbed Matt’s interest on the journey to or from work. Not the side that mentioned the holidays, although they had got my attention, especially the cheap flights to New York, it will have been the other side that had grabbed him. The article covered the opening of the new Marco Pierre White restaurant in Liverpool city centre, housed in Hotel Indigo.

As with all these articles it was a member of the paper who had been accompanied by either a family member, work colleague or friend to sample the delights that were on offer. I decided to put the kettle on, make a brew, take seat upon the sofa and give the article a read through. To be honest it had been a while since we had last dined out and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to raise the fact that it would be nice to go out for a bite to eat again. On the other-hand maybe this was Matt’s way of telling me the same too. In my eyes a complete win-win situation.

It was on a return journey from Chester, in-fact that evening after reading the placed article, that I broached the subject of MPW restaurant and that ‘I had heard’ great reviews of it. Matt informed me that he had read a review on the train the other night and had kept it to mention going there to try the food. I played dumb and didn’t inform him that’s the same place I had ‘heard’ reports of the food and service and in-fact wanted to go sample for myself. We were both happy and content in the fact it had been brought to the forefront and in the open that we both wanted to go. Just now, how to decide when. It was mentioned that due to the Christmas spend it may have to wait and to be quite honest I was happy with that. The seed had been planted and either of us would make sure that we, at some point, did eat there. Especially with the fact that it’s a mere 5 minute (maximum) walk from our apartment.

The remainder of the journey focused on discussions with regards Christmas, work issues, rubbish days, Christmas trees, just the plain old chit-chat that takes place on the drive home. We emerged from the tunnel and home was in sight. We parked, unloaded the car and headed to the apartment. It was then I was handed the piece of paper from the Metro. ‘here, this is the review, give it a read. We do need to go’. I took it and skimmed through as through reading it for the first time. At this point he was occupied with sorting out dinner, although a few questions came my way about the article. I was then told to get the laptop, check the website and look at the cost of going for New Year’s Eve. I did as requested. I looked, I shared and I booked. It was sorted. We had made the decision to spend the night in a four star restaurant rather than drinking more than our own body weight in alcohol rubbing against other squashed into bars like sardines in a John West sardine tin.

So the menu. Something that I studied before agreeing to book. Some of you may know that I am seen as somewhat of a fussy eater. It was fine. There were foods at all levels that appealed to me. Foods that I would be willing to try and no doubt would have passed to me from the plate opposite. Although who knows. Would this be the etiquette of a four star restaurant? Would it matter.

The starters.

Creme du Barry, white truffle oil, Tian of crab, prawns & avocado,  Parfait of foie gras, Madeira jelly, & toasted brioche, Goat’s cheese and caramelised red onion tart, Confit duck salad with celeriac remoulade.

I opted for the Goat’s cheese and caramelised red onion tart. I was questioned to whether this was what I wanted and if there was anything on the menu that I would rather have. I had made my choice and this is what I was sticking with. I liked the sound of it. Matt opted for the Confit duck salad with celeriac remoulade.

My tart arrived on a crisp white plate, placed centrally, cut from a larger tart. The layers could be seen from the side of the pastry case, the caramelised red onions and the Goat’s cheese topping. Surrounding it were swirls of balsamic vinegar and delicately placed upon the top were a few pea leaves. The pastry was crisp as my fork broke through the base, the onions sweet and the goats cheese creamy. It was very tasty. Matt’s duck was served in a bowl, slightly pink in colour but perfectly presented in the dish. It was now I knew I was to be asked if I wished to sample some. I took the opportunity and waited to see how this would pan out. It was delicately placed upon the side of my plate and a small exchange of both our starters passed between us, along with the words ‘I’m not feeding it to you in here, we aren’t at home or a restaurant in Liverpool One’. The duck melted upon my tongue and was filled with flavour, there was nothing to question about the starters. Both were lovely and presented well.

Main Courses

Tournedos Rossini, truffle, Butter poached lobster tail, tortellini of claw, sauce Americaine, Rump of lamb, pomme fondant, rosemary & olive jus, Spiced monkfish, mussel & clam broth, garlic aioli, Artichoke & spinach benedict, sauce Hollandaise (v)

We both opted for the same main dish, the rump of lamb, pomme fondant and rosemary & olive jus. Something that we don’t usually do, as this is seen as another opportunity to get me to try different things. Again I was questioned as to whether I would like to opt for something else on the menu but I opted to stick with my choice, after all I’m the one that usually sticks with the ‘safe’ bet and Matt goes for the more daring, just not tonight.

The wait wasn’t long before the plates arrived. The lamb placed exactly in the centre of the plate, balanced upon a raft of green beans. To the right of the lamb the potato sat in all it’s glory. Square. Below the lamb was a puddle of rosemary and olive jus. The vegetables were served to us in small copper cooking pots and consisted of a further offering of potato, green beans and parsnip. The lamb was medium cooked, still pink in the centre. Like the time we dined at Zelig’s and Matt passed me a large forkful of steak that in my eyes was still mooing. He must have been able to tell that I had some uncertainty towards the lambs colour as he leaned in closer and whispered ‘it’s meant to be like that, it’s fine, try it, you will get a blast of all the flavours’. I just smiled back, cut a small piece and directed it to my mouth. The flavours in the lamb exploded in my mouth. It was soft, lean and full of flavour. The potato that sat beside the lamb offered a slightly spicy taste to the palette and the ones served in the copper pot had more of a salty seasoning to them. It was beautiful and all the flavours and textures worked well with one another, including the parsnip (I’m not the biggest fan). The main was accompained by a bottle of red that worked wonderfully with it.

Dessert

Rich Chocolate & Pistachio Tart, Vanilla Ice Cream, Blackberry & Apple Crumble, Calvados Ice Cream, Banana Eton Mess, Iced vanilla parfait, mulled fruits, almond tuille, Selection of local cheese, quince jelly & biscuits

For dessert I opted for the Rich Chocolate and Pistachio Tart with vanilla ice cream and Matt went for the Iced Vanilla parfait with mulled fruits and almond tuille. They arrived in no time at all. The small dessert plate was decorated by a thick lime green stripe of crushed pistachio nuts crossed by the chocolate tart and finished by a generous portion of vanilla pod rich ice cream upon it. The vanilla cleared the rich chocolate tart from the palette and the flavours all worked well together. The ice cream was creamy and full of flavour. The chocolate velvety and smooth but with a slight burnt bitter taste to it. The vanilla parfait with mulled fruits and almond tuille arrived in ramekins placed upon a plate. The almond tuille held upright between two triangles of vanilla parfait. again the usual taste of one an-others happened, the fruit was delightful and the vanilla parfait creamy and rich, a completely different taste to the ice cream that was sat upon my tart.

Throughout the dining experience all plates were cleared, including the canapes on arrival to the table. The bottle of wine helped wash down every spec of food placed in front of us and the coffee with rose jelly completed the meal. As we finished our dining experience the singing duo began to entertain the diners within the restaurant. They sang a handful of numbers and then allowed the diners to continue their evening with light chatter between their tables. We sat on the balcony, but not near the edge which somewhat detracted from the atmosphere of the place. The balcony section seemed somewhat too high and din’t offer a view of the restaurant as we had expected. We gauged our opinion on the decor of the place which was completed in a ‘flat’ style but not simplistic. The texture upon the main wall offered depth and gave a fun feeling, along with that of the patterns upon the remaining walls (although whoever had papered had not always matched the pattern correctly), even the lights used offered a ‘flat’ feel as they were slightly squashed circular lights. The towels draped over the lights gave a fun element to the whole design and the yellow seating offered a splash of warmth to the venue. This also echoed in the doors, but the only question we had to raise was who painted the corridor into the toilets? We came to the assumption it wasn’t the design team who had worked on the rest of the restaurant as the yellow wasn’t the ‘sunshine’ used everywhere else and the finish was more like that of a 6 year old artist.

All in all there were no questions about the food or the service. A very enjoyable evening and great way to see in 2012. Now just for the bill…

£17 short of £200.00, a bottle of wine £3.00 short of £50.00, not sure that’s the one we picked but it got paid.

We will definitely be going back again but maybe with a closer eye on the wine prices!

So the night some might say they thought would come to an end at this point. What with one of us having to be up for work in the morning, but no. We decided to hit the Hard Days Night hotel bar for a drink on the way home. To round off the evening. Unfortunately though the bar was closed to people who were not staying at the hotel so that was quashed. we found ourselves in the slug and lettuce, where we grabbed a table, surveyed our fellow drinkers and enjoyed our drinks. We moved on. We then ended up being like sardines in the John West sardine can, drinks in hand and waiting for the chimes to ring in the new year. It came and went and so did we. The night was ended upon the balcony watching the lanterns float across the city sky line with champagne in hand. The horns of the ship sounding as they let off the fireworks at the dock to mark the new year and the docking of the ship. It was here we wished one another a happy New Year, finished the champagne and headed to bed. It was here that a wonderful night came to an end, the end of one year and the start of a new. Who knows what it will bring, for that we have to wait and see.

So from me to all of you, a Happy New Year and I hope that 2012 brings you all that you want and keeps you happy.

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