It's Valentine's Day! Well ok, it's not. But it was on Wednesday. Kind of. Naturally Lisa and I are both hopeless romantics and will do anything to celebrate our love, but we don't like to spend a lot of money or associate with riff-raff, so we held Valentine's Day a week early. It's cheaper, quieter, and has the added bonus that if we break up over the weekend, we've still got our presents. For her gift of romance, Lisa paid for us to have lunch at Brighton's most exclusive and expensive restaurant. In return I gave her a small book from Amazon. Admittedly it's a slightly uneven exchange of gifts - the meal was over in an hour, whereas that book will be with her for life - but I'm trying not to feel too much resentment.
Lunch turned out to be very nice. If you like that sort of thing. We went to One Paston Place (I forget exactly where it is), a restaurant which claims to have "the highest rated Italian chef in the UK". And having tasted the food, I can believe it. Although my experience of eating out doesn't stretch much beyond Pizza Hut, so it's hard to tell.
I knew I was out of my depth the moment we walked in the door and were greeted by the bloke on the right who insisted on taking our coats (it's ok - we got them back at the end) and pulling the chairs out for us. It didn't help that we were the only ones in the entire restaurant, and therefore unable to watch the other diners and find out which fork to use. But Angelo, fresh from his experience as a Brotherhood of Man song, seemed friendly enough. It's just a shame we couldn't understand a word he said.
For our starters, Lisa had Guinea Fowl (she'd looked it up in the dictionary the night before), while I went with the Gnocchi. Which I have to say was the finest dish I've ever tasted. I was tempted to cancel my main course and ask for seconds, but I didn't want to appear over-excited, and besides, we were too busy deciding whether you're meant to eat guinea fowl with a spoon. We were also presented with two small cups of gloop which, having compared notes on Angelo's description, we translated as White Truffle & Mushroom something-or-other. I asked Lisa if I could dip my bread in it, she shrugged, and I went ahead anyway.
At this point I went off to the toilet, got confused, walked into the Ladies, came back out again, found the Gents, realised it was exactly the same as the Ladies, then couldn't work out what to do with the posh hand towel after I'd used it. I was glad to get back to the dining room.
For the main course Lisa had mackerel, while I stuck my neck out and went with the rabbit. I've never had rabbit before (well not outside of a hutch), but it was surprisingly nice. Although I felt the addition of just one potato croquette was a little mean, and the rabbit seemed to have eaten all the salad.
For dessert I went with the Praline Parfait, which was far too nice to share with Lisa, while she retaliated by ordering the coffee ice cream which she knew I wouldn't eat. When it was all over, Angelo offered to call us a taxi, I told him I've been called far worse than that, he helped us on with our coats, and we left. Lisa's determined to go back for her birthday, but I'm not so sure. Admittedly it was the best food I've ever tasted, but it's hard to relax and enjoy yourself when you feel like a commoner at a royal banquet. That's why Fergie got divorced.