Mellow Mummy: 5-Star Curry and Pregnancy Flashbacks : Taking life as it comes...

Monday 17 May 2010

5-Star Curry and Pregnancy Flashbacks

Just over 12 months ago, Mr. B. and I splashed out on a night out in London for a curry. Not just any curry; a Michelin-starred curry at Benares in Mayfair. This weekend, we went back to celebrate a special birthday. Curry, followed by 5-Star hotel luxury and a baby-free, teething-free, early-wake-up-free night... my idea of a perfect weekend.

During the length of my pregnancy, the only food I craved was curry. Actually, crave is too strong a word. The only food I had any interest in was curry. I am a foodie, I love to plan my meals and daydream about them throughout my working day. I love to cook, I love to eat. During pregnancy, all that changed. I couldn't get excited about food. There was literally nothing that took my fancy. Some days, the effort involved in planning a meal reduced me to tears. The only food that triggered my taste buds for the whole nine months was curry. Curried anything, any way...I wasn't fussy.

When Mr. B & I drew up our list of stuff we wanted to do before the baby arrived, two of the things at the top of our list were 'have a meal at a celebrity-chef's restaurant' and 'go for a weekend in London'. For our 1st wedding anniversary, we decided to kill two birds with one stone. We had dinner at Benares, part of celebrity-chef Atul Kochar's growing restaurant empire. Dinner was stunning. Benares is an impressive restaurant serving a modern take on traditional Indian dishes. Despite the exclusive location, the clientèle span all ages, races and the complete social spectrum. The dining room runs like clockwork and the professionalism of the staff adds to the spectacle of evening.

The evening was lovely but at 6-months pregnant, I was uncomfortable throughout the meal (despite the staff's best efforts to ease the pain with a comfy cushion). I wasn't drinking so I was unable to make the most of the impressive cocktail list and the mouth-watering wine list. It was our first visit to the restaurant and we were in awe of the Michelin-starred Mayfair-esque wonder of it all – it left us feeling a little uneasy and throughout most of the meal we were worrying about how enormous the bill was going to be.

That night, the couple on the table next to us were enjoying the Benares grazing menu – 5 amazing courses; each a set of small samples from the main menu, served with a glass of wine chosen to perfectly compliment the dishes. We swore that if we ever had occasion (or funds) to return to Benares then we would try the grazing menu ourselves.

As promised, this weekend we returned to Benares. As we were led to our seats I couldn't help but notice the couple next to us. Fresh-faced (i.e. no bags under the eyes), loved-up and she, propped up by a remarkably familiar comfy pillow, sporting a well-formed bump and sipping on a non-alcoholic cocktail while her partner guiltily coveted a glass of wine. Their sly looks towards our tasty 5-course grazing menu told me they'd be back, a year from now.

Dinner was brilliant. We tried so many different things that we would ordinarily be afraid to try. Tandoori pigeon, monkfish with squid-ink mayonnaise, pickled prawns, white chocolate and Cointreau mousse (not all in the same course, I hasten to add).

I would love to know whether the couple next to us return next spring for their post-baby celebration. I hope they enjoy their return visit as much as we did!
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