Jake and I decided to have a night out to celebrate the reality of actually living here for 3 months. No more talking about it or planning for it or packing or traveling or setting up. We're settled. We've got a car, library cards, a babysitter. It's not like we're just here for an extended vacation.
Thanks to the intranet at Jake's office, we get loads of reviews and recommendations for places to eat and Eateria de Manon was being raved about last week so we decided to have a date night. We got polished up, I actually wore a dress, Jake wore a tie and we set off for a romantic night out.
We left the house at 6:30 and after parking and getting cash at the ATM we still had 15 minutes before our 7:00 reservation. And this restaurant isn't even in our town! This is what I love about Wellington. Everything is so close! Even parking isn't that difficult. The scenery reminded me of heading out to a 008 concert in San Francisco only it took us once around the block to find a spot rather than an hour of driving around.
A little walk down the alley off of Rue de Riddiford and we stepped in to a cozy, hip place. 7 is apparently early for a reservation as we were seemingly the only people there. We were seated at a nice little table for two next to the fire place. Shortly after we sat down, a gentleman in a velvet jacket came over and started roasting himself a marshmallow. The mantle held a fishbowl full of marshmallows and a beer stein full of skewers for anyone to enjoy.
Looking over the menu I suddenly got the urge to start eating the pages. I was starving and everything looked so good. Our meal for the evening went something like this:
We each ordered a "Sultry" which, if I can recall correctly was, plum juice, port and cinnamon. For food we started with Oven Baked Escargots w/garlic, parsley, butter and parmesan after which complimentary melon (I think canteloupe) sorbet was served. For our mains Jake chose the Oven Baked Beef Fillet w/goat curd & thyme raviolo & buerre rouge while I enjoyed the Grilled Crispy Half Duck w/lemon braised chicory & Drambuie ginger sauce. Jake's beef wasn't served with a steak knife but it turns out it was so tender, he didn't need one. The duck was delicious although not as crispy as I would have hoped. We split our sides of courgettes, broccoli and gratin potatoes.
After the dessert menu was presented the waitress informed us that the kitchen was a bit backed up and it would be a small wait before she could take our order. We spent that time debating if we should share one dessert or each have our own. Jake went to the restroom and I got to watch the two chefs in the very small kitchen work through their crunch. It was intoxicating just listening to music, watching the chefs dance around each other in the little kitchen. The waitress came around and I ordered a dessert for each of us. Jake had the Chocolate Decadence Cake w/cream, blueberry ice cream & rum-espresso sauce and I had White Wine Poached Pears w/pecan butterscotch sauce, cream quenelle & brioche ice cream.
I had just been reading David Lebovitz's entries about ice cream making and after eating these two ice creams my interest in ice cream making is peaked. The blueberry was tart and sweet. I imagined the brioche ice cream to just be flavored like brioche but it actually had little crumbs of brioche in it. They had a nutty crunch but with a softer finish. It was surprisingly good when you think about it being "bread ice cream".
The pace of the restaurant was purposely slow and not in a way that left you feeling in need of anything. Just perfectly paced for a nice, romantic evening out. We left feeling spoiled and happy. It was a very wonderful evening out and I would highly recommend Eateria De Manon.