I have remarkable herd-like instincts when it comes to the latest trends, I see something pretty on Instagram and then I want to go there. And if it’s Asian themed or seafoody or spicy food, then I’ll definitely make it there. Admittedly, I’m rather slow to actually make it places so once it’s been for cool for about an age, then I’ll finally end up there. Cutting edge, I most definitely am not. I make up for it with a hefty dose of FOMO though.
Now you think I’d learn to trust the classics, the consistent hitters that manage to pack in the punters every night that deserve my custom. Case in point, my amazing meal at Pied a Terre.
But one day, Mum and I were burning our credit cards in Selfridges and in need of a sit down nice meal, we found ourselves heading into 108 Brasserie in London’s Marylebone hotel. It’s all classically French in design, lovely big bar, a modern buzzy sort of casual feel, perfectly suited to a midday ladies who lunch sort of stop.
The menu has a lot of options and it is not easy to choose so we have some drinks to help us through the deliberating process – a glass of Sancerre and a G&T to aid the process.
I finally opt for a starter of grilled Harissa prawns with a steak for afters and Mum goes for the baby beets with goats curd with the Cornish lamb cutlets for a main.
The prawns are meaty and not at all overpowered by the harissa , needing only a little squeeze of lemon to make them perfect. The baby beets and goats curd are colourful and light and you can pat yourself on the back for being all virtuous and vegetable eating.
We’ve gone meaty for mains and while my steak is exactly as I ordered with a delicate accompaniment of peppercorn sauce, it’s the Cornish lamb cutlets that steal the show. The lamb is perfectly cooked and seasoned and the addition of broad beans and salsa verde bring the whole plate of flavours together into a mouth-watering package.
The portion sizes are perfectly judged and we’re comfortably full but not so much that we can’t have dessert – it’s not something I can easily pass by! I’ve gone for a banana tartine with banana ice cream and it’s sensuously decadent with big punchy flavours of banana and caramel mixing together into gooey mouthfuls. Mum remains quite unconvinced by the brown bread ice cream, which is exactly as it sounds on the tin, so I’m talked into a switch which I don’t really mind since I happen to be a big fan of brown bread.
It’s so comfortable to sit inside and be part of the relaxed buzz that it’s hard to think about going to pound the streets outside so I find myself easily talked into sustenance in the form of an ice cold mocha, drizzled with chocolate for a much needed caffeine hit.
But since we were caffeinated up and the shops weren’t going to hit themselves, we headed out into the craziness of Oxford street, fuelled up with great food and a slightly healthier respect for the Great British classics.