You know when it all gets that bit too much at work. Papers are piling, deadlines are zooming and you can’t quite fathom how to manage it all?
Brain freeze, writers block… call it what you will, I get it on the regular. Sitting hunched over my desk worrying about work is not the way to get inspired. A walk, some fresh air and a good lunch, it is all that is really needed to blow away the cobwebs and get those cogs moving.
It is all the better when you have a cheeky comrade, or two, to keep you company and make you giggle.
For today’s break from the book writing grind, Jelly (top dog editor in chief of About Time Mag) and I headed to Aubaine, on high st ken. It is the perfect little spot halfway between both our offices, for a tasty summer bite, a bit of work chat and a catch up.
Aubaine is one of those sort of places that sits halfway between and bistro and french garden kitchen. It is filled with pretty flowers and old french style pots, aged white chairs and white linens. The front windows, are also artfully covered by winding vines and wooden sticks, providing a retreat from the bustle of the high street.
The attempt to create an imposed theme and vibe of a restaurant is always a curious one to get right. The decor certainly offers more than a nod to old style french shabby chic, although the generic paint-aged shelved, metal milk pitchers and swirly white wired shelves made me feel a little more like I was sitting in the gardening department in Habitat then an authentic french bistro. Everything being just that little bit too matchy matchy.
The vibe of the place was a mix of high street shoppers, ladies who lunch and informal business men, most of whom enjoying their steak frites and salad de chèvre all fresco, in the little outdoor seating area, tucked away off the high street.
After a little deliberation we settled on our orders. Jelly went for a fish special of the day, I went for the Chicken with pistachio, pesto and sundried tomatoes and Jack opted for the spaghetti with lobster sauce.
But alas… there was not a chicken left. Sacre Bleu
So I went for the Moule Mariniere and chips instead.
The food all came out super speedy. (clearly they are a dab hand at quick lunches here) We were pretty ravenous, but of course we had to get a few pics, for you to have a nibble on, before we broke bread and tucked in!
Just dive on in there, look at that soft, perfectly cooked Hake, the saucy lobster spag and those plump, juicy little muscles. We can thank Mr Jack Hardy (camera man extraordinaire) for these beauties.
Suffice to say, I was pretty happy in the end with my order. Not the tidiest thing to eat, but this was not one of my Grazia review, Date Night Dinners, so I didn’t care.
The moules were juicy and plump and swimming in a rather pleasing white wine sauce. It was a little under reduced and in need of a lick of cream perhaps, but well seasoned and certainly not lacking in parsley.
Nods on the other side of the table assured me that the other two were happy with their orders..
Post-meal, we were not intended on pudding, but things significantly changed with this platter. I have to commend Aubaine on their wicked cleverness, presenting us with the pudding slate post-meal… I don’t think anyone can say no to that. (The eclair was practically jumping on the plate at us!) Against all urges to demolish the lot, we settled on our order, in truly diplomatic form and got a few to share. The carrot cake, the chocolate filled eclair and a bowl of fruit salad.
Both the puddings were tasty, but not as fresh as they might have been and, as I suspected, not made in house. After a nibble of each (certainly enough wheat for my tummy to be digesting) Jelly and I hit the fruit hard. It was a fruit salad so right, with no inclusion of orange, watermelon and kiwi (all of which dominate and ruin the balance) Just platter of melon, berries, grapes, banana and apple. No added extras, or sugar, just clean and simple fruity goodness.
We bounced out of Aubaine, a few springs heavier but all the happier for a lovely mid-day break and catch up. I left feeling ready for work and clearer headed. Ready to size the pen and get those words flowing again.
There are a number of Aubaine restaurants across London, so check out their website here to find your local one.