Saturday, February 24, 2007

Shop, eat & shop again!

There's really nothing like a good old shop pounding to make you ravenous so D and I headed into Strada and secured a corner round table perfect for consumption and people watching.
We started off with some schiacciatella which is scrumptious garlic and rosemary bread and a bottle of their filtered tap water. This is a very impressive precedence, Giles Coren in his weekly Times restaurant review column has started marking restaurants down that don't offer tap water or Belu (which is English Shropshire mineral water sold in bio-degradable bottles and whose profits fund clean drinking water projects). At the very least he hope that a restaurant in England would serve English water and not god forbid, Fiji water! I wonder if he's been to New York recently as the 'smart' restaurants offer a choice of waters and a silver plated water bottle caddy of the requisite shape! I don't think he'd be happy at all!
But back to Strada, I ordered the thyme roasted butternut squash, chilli, smoked pancetta bacon finished with baby spinach and toasted pine nuts risotto and D the lobster, crab, sun blushed tomatoes and chilli.
The plan was I'd check to see if the crab and lobster risotto wasn't too tomato-y we would share the two. I was alarmed by the red colour but did give it a go, I thought the lobster and crab were delicious but starting to be overcome by tomato fumes I scuttled back to my Autumn in a bowl roasted butternut squash and pancetta one. It's the second time I've eaten this risotto and again I was really impressed by its smokiness (from the pancetta) the rich comforting flavour of the butternut and that subtle heat from the chilli. It's a very good risotto indeed! And especially because of that dish I think Strada should be awarded the coveted two forks.

Our table was just perfect for examining our earlier purchases and to plan where our next assault should be. I'd already found some gorgeous crystal handled butter knives and a very curious and rather wonderful lobster fork but as yet no crockery purchases had been made!
As D has sworn off chocolate for Lent and nothing would persuade me to drink coffee, we couldn't do pie customised dessert sharing. I went for the warm chocolate tart and D the tiramisu. And there were definitely no complaints there.

After our lovely meal we headed off towards M&S, D wanted to slow me some crockery she become very attached to and would visit the homeware department to stroke them and will them to be on special offer. And whilst I was there I spotted some interesting new crockery also that amazingly was neither white nor black but... believe it or not was pink! I resisted but it was a very intriguing proposition and gave us much to ponder during the rest of the shopping as to the ideal dishes to serve on pink plates. Hmmm well fed and food for thought!

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