Mr Angelina booked The River Café for my birthday. I have never dined there and would have been very delighted to do so however in the end, he had to go away on business so we moved our celebratory date to the day before and went local instead to St James, Bushey.
It was a Monday night, the musak was very loud and made me feel like I was trapped in a scene from a late 90s TV movie about a single mother who, after divorce and heartbreak finally finds true love in her forties. (Ha ha!) We were sandwiched in between two tables of loud, glamorously kempt, elderly couples. To my left were a group of four, one of whom generously discussed his liver issues (those of his body, not his plate) at full decibel - he looked and sounded like any minute he would peel off a mask to reveal Kayvan Novak.
Close to my right were another elderly couple, the man seemingly much more elderly and compressed in his seat than his female companion (-was this a horrifying glimpse into my future? Mr Angelina is ten years older than me…) who, after I had shared with my husband that I thought the music was bonkersly loud exclaimed in a loud voice “This music is JUST PERFECT”. I prefer to think that this was simply coincidence and not a passive-aggressive attempt to put me in my place. Because it is a well-known fact that no one is passive aggressive in Bushey.
I’m making this sound terrible and it really wasn’t. Mr Angelina’s duck mosaic starter was yummy and he was very happy with his calves liver main which looked beautiful. My barley risotto (which was cooked to a perfect texture and mixed with a bountiful assortment of wild, earthy mushrooms) would have been delicious with some garlic or onion or something in it and my seabass with broccoli mousse and almond salad would have been less dry on the tongue had it been cooked for a shorter time and/ or served with some sort of sauce or dressing.
So, I’m not writing it off at all. I will one day revisit St James, as I’m full of hope that I will again experience the ecstasy of the creamy squash risotto that I ate there a couple of years ago. It was close to the best I’ve ever had. Oo-er.