This was a very exciting affair for all of us as not only was one of our number becoming that bit older, but we also hadn't seen each other in a very long time and couldn't wait for a huge catch up. After much primping and preening, we all bundled out of the door and headed to the restaurant.
Almeida is one of those places that just looks sophisticated- all clean lines, neutral colours and sparkly glass. However, we didn't have much time to admire the decor before whisking off into our own little private dining room. There, after admiring the meticulously planned seating plan, we settled into our seats and began eagerly examining the rather extensive menu.
After much debate with my fellow diners, I finally managed to pick what to eat. I went for the 'cured Lock Duart salmon' with apple, cucumber and horseradish for starters, the rib eye steak which had been aged for 28 days and a pear and almond tart for pudding, all of which turned out to be excellent choices although I especially loved the salmon. However, I have to admit that Marcus may have made a better choice when it came to the puddings. He'd gone for what was described as 'pineapple carpaccio' with lime and coconut parfait and a spiced pineapple compote. After sneakily trying a (couple of) mouthfuls, I had to admit that it was delicious! The thin slices of pineapple and the compote were the perfect refreshing end to the meal.
As we were all finishing up, we were surprised by the apparition of a beautiful birthday cake, covered in shiny chocolate ganache. We raucously sang happy birthday as Marcus blew out his candle.
I really enjoyed dinner at Almeida. The food was lovely but what made it really special was the company. Everyone had a wonderful time catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones, all over dishes of delicious food. What could be better? The only criticism I could possibly have was that at times the service was a little slow, but we hardly noticed as we were all so absorbed in catching up. All in all, I had a delightful evening and just wish that it could have gone on all night!