Thank Heaven for little Girls!
When I was a tiny tot, much to my delight, my father used to sing Maurice Chevalier’s ‘Thank Heaven for little Girls’ to me. How apt, how true! Daughters, especially when they are all grown up and lead their own interesting lives, can be such a delight to spend time with. I have one of those. She’s got an impressive career, is fairly newly married and expecting a baby literally any minute. Exciting times for us all! But that’s not all. I am also abundantly blessed with a high-flying legal eagle daughter-in-law, two step-daughters, one a successful business woman, the other a clever psychologist, and two step-daughters-in-law of equal competence in their respective fields. All of them are beautiful, charming and fun, and a joy to have in my life. The first two, the blondes, my daughter and my daughter-in-law, live in close proximity to me as well as to each other, so we have plenty of opportunity for girly get togethers and chinwags, and we certainly frequently indulge in those! No café in the SW London area is safe from our giggle and cupcake fests!
Once in a blue moon, the three of us slip into our glad rags and head to Theatreland in the West End, leaving our men at home. Boastful as it may sound, and I do apologise for showing off, I’m always terrifically proud to be seen flanked by two such gorgeous young women. And guess what, we always get the best table in any joint and the waiters tend to suitably fawn over us, so the girls certainly have their uses!
On our last outing we went to see the Nutcracker Suite, which was, of course, as always, completely charming. But first things first! The girls had come straight from work, so with champagne during the interval on our minds, a quick pre-theatre nibble was on the cards.
For me, in that neck of the woods and discreetly hidden away in tiny St. Martin’s Court just off Charing Cross Road, nothing beats J. Sheekey, easily one of London’s most outstanding fish restaurants. In any case, I have a romantic attachment to it because it was here that the Lovely Husband presented me with the sparkly hardware to back up his proposal made months earlier in New York. The reason I keep coming back, however, is the wonderful food and the impeccable service. This is another of Richard Caring’s many restaurants. These days, it seems as though almost every decent place in London is owned by him. The man clearly has an eye for quality. Still, unlike the super trendy, ultra opulent Sexy Fish on Berkeley Square or glamorous Scott’s in Mount Street, J. Sheekey is more old fashioned, more traditional. In fact, it has the feel of an upmarket fish and chippie; smart white linen table cloths and sparkling crystal for sure, but the dark wood panelling gives it a relaxed and cosy pub like atmosphere and a sense of discreet old world classiness. Much beloved by the theatre crowd, actors and audiences alike, it’s not easy to get a table here, though a bar stool or two at the Oyster Bar can often be secured pretty much last minute.
My girls and I had booked well in advance and besides, ours was an early bite before the ballet. As always, the place was buzzing with not a spare seat in sight. Despite the chilly wind outside, we were greeted by a uniformed door man, so civilized, and then taken to our spot by the window. As it was early in the evening, none of us were super hungry, just keen on a little yummy morsel. It certainly wasn’t easy to choose one dish above the others. Herb roasted sea bream, lobster, shrimp and scallop burger, fish pie, oysters, grilled market fish, the choice was hugely tempting! In the end, my daughter ordered Gravad Lax with pickled cucumber, my d-i-l, a tuna tartare and I chose, from experience, J. Sheekey’s famous mussel, prawn and monkfish curry with butternut squash and basmati rice. The salmon and tuna were wonderfully fresh tasting, light, nicely seasoned and well prepared. Perfect. My fish curry was simply excellent, pleasantly spicy with juicy pieces of monkfish, meaty super fresh mussels and large, well marinaded king prawns in their shells, their different consistencies and the combination of flavours well matched and harmonious, the curried broth in which they swam, ideal for mopping up with the rice or with bread.
Naturally, supper is not supper without a sweet treat to finish it off. As always, we were trying to be good, so we shared a Crème Brûlée, the one portion, however, being of such a size that each of us felt well satisfied by our thirds. The d-i-l declared it the best Crème Brulee she’d eaten in a long time which is saying something, since she’s quite the gourmet.
Creme Brûlée with figs
The meal was not cheap at just under £145 for the three of us, including a side order of roasted vegetables, one glass of wine and three of champagne , a soft drink, a £6 mysterious cover charge and 12.5% service, making it almost £50 per head for a light supper, but it was a delicious experience nonetheless, and one I can thoroughly recommend, certainly for a special occasion such as this. Like the man sings, ‘little girls grow up in the most delightful way’ and shouldn’t these precious moments be celebrated from time to time?
And so we danced off into the night, happy in each other’s company and well fed, to enjoy our ballet performance.
What I wore
Pale grey and black silk houndstooth Emporio Armani skirt with lace kick pleat panels, short grey Hugo Boss jacket, black Joseph jumper (not visible), broad black patent L.K. Bennett belt, black patent Jimmy Choo stiletto pumps and a black Chanel classic shoulder bag with chain.
I’d be delighted to find out more about you, so please feel invited to leave a comment below or just say ‘hello’. If you enjoy reading my blog, please like, share and follow it. Thank you!
Kia aka Fizz of Life