Jasmine: Oh boy. This is the birthday that Andrew will never forget. Not only did I have to change plans three times, he also had to pay for our meal AND bring me to see a doctor. [Andrew: Don’t worry about these things Dear, these were all circumstances beyond our control!]
This was actually the third time I had planned and replanned his birthday. Why? The first two times, I had planned to bring him to a well-reviewed salon (at Club Street, and later on at Cantonment Road) and have dinner in the vicinity, but due to rescheduling of his work calendar, we had no choice but to put it off yet again.
Anyway, I chose La Strada as Andrew wanted something Western (Italian’s kinda Western, right?). La Strada is the Italian “wing” of the famed Les Amis restaurateur group, and in conjunction with rather good reviews, I was hoping for a blog-worthy meal.
Jasmine: Andrew could not stop eating the grissini!
Andrew: Oh – so that’s what it’s called? I thought it was just called breadsticks. Heh. We actually asked for an extra serving of bread and the waiter only gave us two slices of the bread without the breadsticks, so we specially asked for the breadsticks and he gave us a lot more – at least 6 – in a cup! Cute!
Dearie informed me that the pizzas here were supposed to be very good. However, as they were undergoing renovations soon, their wood-fired oven was out of action during this period. What a waste!
For starters, we were deciding between the Scamorza alla Piastra con Proscuitto di Parma (Smoked scarmoza cheese with Parma Ham, cherry tomatoes and balsamic glaze) or the Asparagi di Ferri (Grilled asparagus with pancetta, poached egg, buerre blanc, parmesan shavings and lemon vinaigrette). Both sounded uniquely Italian – we (or rather, I) eventually decided to go with the parma ham because of my preference for meat and we didn’t regret it at all.
Andrew: I was initially worried that the scarmorza cheese would be a stinky cheese, but it turned out to be a nice, mild cheese that helped to balance the saltiness of the parma ham nicely. Interestingly enough, googling ‘scarmorza’ cheese reveals that it is a ‘plastic or stretched curd cheese’ which doesn’t really describe its taste, but plastic and stretched are spot on in describing the texture! The only minus point is that the portion was too small.
Photo-taking before our mains arrived
Fruitti di Mare – Linguettine with seafood, cherry tomatoes, bottarga, white wine, garlic
Andrew: Besides the fact that it was too small a portion, this was a well-prepared dish. Big juicy prawns (3 of them!), thick chewy squid, fresh clams with a light, herby tomato sauce. I loved it.
Jasmine: The signature dish of La Strada would have to be its carbonara. The bacon was nicely done- mildly smoky and the saltiness was apparent but not overtly so. The carbonara itself sported a “crimped” look and its unusually springy texture stood out against the mix of ingredients. In addition, I rather enjoyed that perfectly runny egg yolk in my carbonara (and this is someone who NEVER eats yolk), and the various flavours mingled well.
I found myself wishing for just a sliver of white truffle though- that would seriously have clinched the deal for me.
Andrew: Before we had dinner, Dearie decided that we should walk over to Goodwood Park Hotel to get a piece of durian mousse cake for my birthday cake as they were having their durian cake season now. It was indeed thoughtful of her as durian cake is one of my favourite cakes. (All durian lovers must definitely head down to Goodwood Park’s durian buffet. The smell was just heavenly as we walked past!) (Jasmine: Heavenly smell?? Are you sure dear?)
I remembered too late though that most restaurants nowadays don’t allow patrons to have durian cake in consideration of their other guests, and this was indeed the case at La Strada. So we packed our cake and made our way to Jasmine’s place for my post-dinner celebrations!
Jasmine’s sister and mum were rather amused by our little mini-celebration at her place and we even ‘re-enacted’ the singing of the birthday song so that Charlene could catch ‘candid shots’ of it. Heh. One plus point of celebrating in Jasmine’s place – we had the help of someone who actually knew how to take good photos as opposed to most waiters/waitresses who have almost always taken disappointing shots!
Andrew: Goodwood Park’s durian cake was excellent indeed, but I thought Jasmine’s mum’s durian cake was much better in terms of the portion and quality of durian used! (Jasmine: Yes, both Charlene and Mum came over to sample Andrew’s durian cake and Mum of course declared her own to be superior. On another note, I am rather impressed by how Andrew has managed to compliment both my mum and sis in just one post. Talk about scoring points. Haha.)
On Jasmine: Dress and sash from Roxy Square
On Andrew: Shirt from Raoul
Andrew: We ended off the birthday with more photos! Thanks to Charlene! I’m quite glad we ended the celebrations at Jasmine’s place though as it was definitely a much better place (in terms of lighting) to take photos of us instead of La Strada!
Thanks Dear for planning a great birthday and for having to change plans so many times to work around my unpredictable schedule! It was a meaningful and memorable celebration indeed! 🙂
Birthday presents in next post!