Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Oh what a night!

Yesterday was our 5 month wedding anniversary! Not usually a big deal I know, but being the beautiful and sweet husband that he is, Ben surprised me with tickets to see Dirty Dancing (on one of our first dates, knowing it is one of my all-time favourite movies, Ben took me to see a screening of the movie at a funky cinema bar in London Bridge), so it was the loveliest of surprises. HOWEVER, London had different plans for us! As it turned out, a massive fire had started in a neighbouring building to the Aldwych Theatre that morning, and consequently every street in the general vicinity of Aldwych was closed well into the night. Chaos ensued and unfortunately, the Dirty Dancing performance was cancelled.

The offending fire!
So, onto Plan B.   

We had originally decided to start the evening with another 'Ben & Leah memory', of dinner & drinks at the Coal Hole, which is the wine bar where Ben and I first met. We decided that we now, more than ever, had to honour that plan, so reminisced with a celebratory glass of bubbles. As we now had no other plans we decided to make the most of the opportunity to check out the newly opened, and much hyped da Polpo

Photo courtesy of alotonherplate
da Polpo is the newest of 4 Italian Bacaro-style eateries (along with Polpo, Polpetto and Spuntino) opened in and around Soho. I've read SO much about them all and couldn't wait to try out this new little gem. And we weren't disappointed - this really is my kinda place. We were lucky enough to get seats at the bar where we had a great view over the floor. It's such a relaxed atmosphere, you can't help but feel at ease. The staff are uber friendly and happy to have a chat (without being too intrusive) and were great to suggest both drinks and food. I had been reading alot about Campari and Aperol Spritzers during my research of Venice (for our trip in August, can't wait!), so I was keen to find out more. I already knew I didn't really like Campari, so I was happy to find out that Aperol was lighter and sweeter. I'm not 100% sure of the measurements, but it looked like one third each of Aperol, Wine/Prosecco and Soda, over ice. We tried one of each just to make sure, but Aperol was the clear winner - I could have happily sat there most of the night getting to know this new-found friend. 

So beverages aside, the food was just as inspiring and has left my mouth watering just at the thought of it. [FYI, a Bacaro is an Italian restaurant that serves small plates of food, very similar in style to a Spanish tapas bar.] The menu was quite extensive and featured lots of delicious sounding Italian dishes, whilst also making the most of the UK seasonal produce (think aspargus and broad beans at this time of year), and also had a large section dedicated to the meatball - and yes, even a vegetarian meatball, much to Ben's delight! We also tried the Mozarella & Broad Beans - I don't think i've EVER had mozzarella that fresh and creamy, the Zucchini & Chilli Pizette which had quite a kick, but not so much the incredible flavour shone through and a potato croquette that was a lovely contrast of crispy crumbed coating and light and fluffy potato inside. I think this review by faerietalefoodie sums up the da Polpo experience (funnily enough, the photos are taken from the exact same seat I sat in), all I know is that I can't wait to go back to try the rest of the menu!

Meatballs, Mozzarella & Broad Beans and Aperol Spritzer at da Polpo
We decided not to stay for dessert, instead we thought we might walk into Leicester Square for an ice-cream. Whilst we were wandering the streets of Covent Garden, I remembered that the new M&Ms World store was due for opening, so dragged Ben through the crowds of tourists and to my delight found the store open and buzzing!

For those who don't know, a big part of my job has been dealing with many projects relating to the opening of this store, so I know it's been a long time coming and have been eagerly anticipating this day for a very long time :)

The London store is the 4th store to open globally, after LA, New York and Orlando - and WOW, what a store - spread over 4 whole floors, the store is filled with all things M&Ms, some beyond even the biggest kids imagination. Stuffed toys, candy dispensers, sports equipment, ROWS and ROWs of different colour M&M's to gorge on, clothes, chopstix - the list goes on, you really do have to see it to believe it!  My only complaint, the only flavours available are plain chocolate and peanut, why oh why can we not have Almond M&Ms in the UK??? Could everyone please cross their fingers for Almond M&Ms some time real soon!

Yep, 4 whole levels!

I'll have one of each thanks!

His M&M Highness!

My new besties!

So all in all, after the disappointment of not making it to Dirty Dancing, our night actually had a silver lining and turned out even better than expected!

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