Birthday Dinner at Fifteen

As anybody who avidly follows my Twitter feed will know, last week was my birthday, so as a birthday treat my boyfriend took me to Fifteen for a delicious celebratory dinner.

Firstly, I must once again excuse the bad pictures. As doesn’t surprise me in a ‘celebrity’ restaurant, there was a certain snootiness to the waiting staff, clearly snobby about the amount of food tourists that undoubtedly pass through the place in their droves. While I certainly don’t advocate their behaviour, I wasn’t about to give them the satisfaction of smirking at the blaring flash of my point-and-shoot, and opted for the subtle iphone option. You get the jist.

Anyway, onto the food. Since lasting only three weeks meat free this January, I have been pretty addicted to cured meats, and went straight for a plate of antipasti. Whole, caramelised shallots, chilli dressed marjoram, strong garlic sausage, herby porchetta, olives and metingly tender slivers of rare, cured beef (forgive my lack of memory of exact names!) made for a generous, but manageable, not to mention delicious starter.

Alongside the antipasti we tore into a creamy but firm ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella, dressed with chilli, olive oil and crunchy nuggets of sea salt. Given my taste-aversion to milk, I often find good quality mozzarella too creamy, but with the accompanying dressing, this one was just perfect.

Having also had a celebratory lunch, and for fear of a ruptured stomach, we skipped the primi pasta dishes and went straight onto secondi. After toying with the idea of a whole roasted poussin on a bed of creamy polenta, I opted for a Scottish rib-eye, pan fried rare in gorgonzola, shallot and horseradish butter.

Sounds like a heart-attack, tasted like the most delicious steak ever. The meat was tender, full of flavour, and gave off a strong aroma of beefiness that only a really good quality steak can. Served with punchy fresh rocket, the dish had a lovely freshness, and a little bit of health… I suppose. I even boosted the green count with some gorgeously garlicky green beans, which were a perfect accompaniment.

As a liver-lover, Robin went for the calves liver, fried with crisp pancetta and served with plum chutney on a bed of purreed celeriac. I gave it a try, and while I still just can’t get past the iron flavour of liver, there was no doubt that it was a brilliantly executed dish. The liver was cooked to a tender pinkness, preventing any of the nasty powdery flavour that normally puts people off, and the smooth buttery celeriac was one of the most delicious things I tasted all night.

Dessert of raspberry frangipane tart with Amaertti cream was too good to wait to take a picture before wolfing down, and was a lovely end to a great meal.

An even better finish to the evening was a round of Champagne cocktails at the Hoxton Hotel. Happy Birthday to me indeed!

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