Wild Thing, you make my Heart sing!
It was one of those evenings when the Lovely Husband and I returned to Barnes from a jolly sortie to a different area of town and found ourselves feeling rather peckish on the car journey home. You know the situation: the fridge is full for sure but it’s a bit too late to start cooking and you are overcome by the need for something sinfully unhealthy and soul satisfying. Like a swift little pizza. Nothing easier to procure than that. Close to our house and right on lovely Barnes Pond is Wildwood which prides itself on serving ‘great food delivered by friendly staff in a relaxed, homely environment’. They have several outlets throughout London and the UK but are not a massively big high street chain. On offer are grills, pasta and stone baked pizze. Their Barnes restaurant spreads over quite large, not exactly intimate premises, with lighting that’s perhaps a little too bright, but as these types of places go, it is reasonably attractive and comfortable. On the evening we visited, there were only two other tables occupied, making for an atmosphere of abandonment, but then it was a Sunday evening after all. Nonetheless, all the little table candles were lit, and the well equipped play area for children spoke of much busier family times.
I was immediately impressed by the truly warm and friendly welcome. The pretty young waitresses sported genuine smiles and went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. The menu is enticing and listed just the sort of food we were hankering after. And then it came! Our Hot Pepperoni stone baked pizza, shared to minimize the carb dairy and fat bomb factor, was simply splendiferous! A super thin crust with a generous topping of tasty melted mozzarella, red chili slithers and pepperoni slices, it was much spicier and tastier than the usual ‘hot’ variety of pizza elsewhere. Our kind of fiery food! Okay, the Lovely Husband might have enjoyed more pepperoni slices and I’d have liked the crust to be a tad crispier but, in this case, these are very personal and mutually exclusive preferences, since conversely I was happy with the amount of meat and he doesn’t go in for super crunchy bases. So, in fact, it represented the perfect marital compromise. What more can you ask of a Sunday evening snack?
Well here, to my deeply gluttonous shame, I have to confess that having so much enjoyed our hot culinary liaison, we weakened further and ordered a steamy sweet sticky toffee pudding with ice cream for afters. I know, I know! Just don’t remind me of the implications to my waistline, my heart, my cholesterol levels. Ah, but it was so worth it! This desert, usually so dense and cloying, was just meltingly airy and lightly spongey, and, for once, the toffee sauce was not overly sugary: a gentle sweet kiss as a finale to a wonderfully happy meal.
We paid £29.10 including a guilt reducing token mixed salad of no particular merit, an Americano coffee, a Tiger beer and a somewhat rough glass of Pinot Grigio.
Now I’m off to the gym. In my mind, at least, which is something, after all. Recently I read that apparently, visualizing exercise is almost as good as actually doing it. In a university study a few years ago (Shackell and Standing), strength gains were measured in three different groups of people. The first group changed nothing in their lives, the second group was put through a specific intense exercise regime three times a week, the third group listened to a CD three times a week, which took them through the imaginary process of the same work out the second group was undergoing in practice. Lo and behold, the group that didn’t do anything, obviously saw no change in their muscle strength, the second group who had physically exercised, saw a 28% gain in muscle strength but the third group who had merely visualized exercising, gained an astounding 24% in muscle strength! (See http://www.jonathanfields.com/brain-buff-research-thoughts-on-strength-fitness-weight-loss/).
Please do excuse me while I take myself off to my sofa for a lie-down and an imaginary hoola hooping session to burn off that pizza and pudding!