I have unfortunately been blessed with a less than flat tummy and – conversely and rather disappointingly – a completely flat bottom. After getting throughly overexcited in both New York and London and, as they say in America, “eating my face off”, I find myself back in sunny Singapore with a tummy that’s bigger than usual, a party to go to tomorrow and not a lot to wear*.
There are two exquisite and achingly hip New York restaurants I would like to blame for this: namely L’Artisu in the West Village and Calliope in the East Village, both of which I would never have found if I hadn’t been taken by friends living here (going to places you never knew existed is one of the lovely things about visiting people in a city that is not your own and is, very much, theirs).
I was thrilled to avoid yet another trip to Balthazar which, no matter how many people rave about is, to me anyway, nothing more than an over priced – albeit faultless – Cafe Rouge (to my lovely UK readers: Balthazar has just opened in Covent Garden…maybe their London offering delivers?).
Not wanting to bore you with endless blurred photographs of food, both L’Artisu and Calliope were incredible.
I will be attempting to replicate L’Artisu’s citrus salad of avocado, the thinnest pink grapefruit rounds, shavings of fennel, radiccio and a tiny bit of red onion (my mother has HUGE objections to onions of any kind in salads, but even she would have approved of this) sometime soon. Unfortunately half of the magic was in the dressing and assuming I fail to replicate it successfully (likely) I dare say something will be lost in translation.
Calliope was laid back loveliness with great people watching and such informed and unobtrusive service that I naturally assumed our waitress was the owner of the restaurant (damn, those yanks know how to earn a tip). This announcement was met with gales of laughter from our table along with the line, “No. She’s a waitress. She’s just a really good one. Welcome to New York.”
If you do go here, do what you have to to order the raw sea urchin on toast; in fact their first courses are so good, I’d actually be tempted to skip the mains altogether (although delicious) and go for two starters instead.
*Cue the incredible emergency ‘tummy disguise’ dress I bought for my sister’s wedding when I had recently had a baby. I whipped it out of the cupboard last night assuming it would swamp me but, no, rather annoyingly it fitted pretty perfectly. I promise to share details of it in my next post provided I remember to take a picture when I wear it tomorrow night.