Monday, November 13, 2006

Something for the weekend?

The weekend saw me in London again, full of plans for re-decorating the kitchen of G's house. As part of our plan (and to avoid spending too much time actually in the house), we went off to Olympus Tiles to select tiles for kitchen and bathroom. I know, we lead a really exciting life!

It wasn't very busy, so we were rather at the mercy of a knowledgeable salesman who would keep coming up and telling us about stuff when we were looking round. It was interesting to see how they had tiles there which, if you put them up in your bathroom, would recall Victorian public conveniences, or seventies' bathrooms, or even show that you had absolutely no taste whatsoever. Who on earth decided that moulded fruit standing out from a tile was a good look? Anyway, we found some tiles we liked and bought some samples to take home and try against the background of the two rooms.

On Sunday, having been chastised the day before by one of the neighbours, I decided to tackle the front garden, which until that point was a mass of weeds and some grass. It's odd that, now feeling a sense of ownership with the garden, which I never felt when I was a child with any garden that my parents cultivated, I set to work with a will that would have considerably surprised my mother, had she seen me. Most of the weeds were removed, and part of the garden dug up and forked, and discovered bulbs decently reinterred. It looked quite tidy by the time we had lunch and had to pack up for the day.

Finding ourselves again in South Kensington on Sunday evening, G and I decided to have dinner at a Moroccan resturant on Brompton Road we'd passed several weeks earlier. It's called Cous Cous, and isn't far from South Kensington tube station. Inside, the decor is fantastic - quite dark, with very little direct light - with red walls, lots of wood, tiled floor, rugs and pierced metal lampshades. There was a lovely smell as we walked in, too - though I'm not sure whether that was due to scented candles or the hookah a patron was smoking! We hadn't booked, but found a table quite easily at 7pm.

We chose things from the menu that sounded interesting, but the host, a very charming chap, was fully ready to explain our choices. We picked a flavoured orange juice to drink that was delicious, so full of other things that the orange wasn't dominant. G had a starter, a chicken pie. This sounds very dull, but it was lovely - moist chicken with sweet spices and nuts, in a round parcel of filo pastry. We both had tagine for main course - G's was of strips of lamb cooked with prunes, boiled eggs and nuts; mine was minced lamb meatballs and poached egg in a spicy tomato sauce - and a bowl of cous cous. The cous cous also was superbly cooked - light and fluffy and tasty, without any water. We both felt rather too full for dessert, but we each had some mint tea, and were suprised by the addition of a couple of pastries after we'd asked for the bill. The pastries were rather sweet, rather like baklava, though I quite liked the one stuffed with pistachio nuts.

It was one of the most delicious meals I've had for ages - partly due to the uniqueness of the cuisine, and partly due to the way in which it was cooked. The service was excellent, and even the permitted smoking didn't interfere too much with our enjoyment of the meal. Cous Cous is highly recommended.


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