January 4th, 2006

Feast

Lessons learned at Splendido

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Now I know why I should never accept a restaurant booking for so late in the evening, unless I'm either in Spain or planning on a light dinner. A good multi-course meal needs to be enjoyed slowly, over the course of hours and hours, with plenty of time to digest along the way. Even with the late start, the restaurant was happy for us to take breaks, but given how full our schedule had been in the preceeding weeks, we were fading fast with fatigue when midnight hit. Full stomachs warred with exhaustion, and exhaustion won. Additionally, despite trying hard to time my meals that day with a late dinner in mind, by the time 9 pm rolled around, I was no longer as hungry as I'd been an hour or two earlier, and thus, for the first time ever, didn't have the appetite to finish my last few dishes.

There was one further complication with this particular dinner: I was fighting off a cold and was mildly congested. I thought the congestion mild enough to be no impediment to enjoying complex foods, but I was mistaken. There were various registers of taste I lacked. Not only was I missing out on many of the flavor notes which C. could taste, the dessert and mignardises- confections of coffee and milk chocolate and hazelnut - was effectiveful tasteless to me. C. swooned over the sweets; they were tragically wasted on me.

Finally, this dinner was one more lesson in the important of taking copious notes on a meal as I eat it - or as soon afterwards as possible. However good, many of the details fade with alarming alacrity from my memory when I don't write them down.

Please note that none of these problems were in any way the restaurant's fault.

For your delectation, here's the tasting menu we (mostly) ate that night. As ever, Splendido was happy to replace C.'s fish and seafood dishes with substitutions, and substitute whites for reds for me. Wines are listed in parentheses.

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