It’s almost impossible to fathom now, already seeming impossibly distant in this new world of contained routine and actually cooking our own dinner every night, but we used to go out to restaurants – in groups, no less; clustered together, leaning into each other as we laughed carelessly into the very unsafe distances between us.
One such visit was a couple of months ago. On an early evening already dark with winter shadow Olivia (esteemed WLL editor) and I darted across the King’s Road into the warm Art Deco embrace of Bluebird. Part restaurant, part garden, part bar, Bluebird is something of a King’s Road institution, and with a new executive chef, Harvey Ayliffe, in the kitchen we were eager to see how he was spicing up the menu.
The restaurant itself was beautiful as ever, hanging greenery amongst the gleaming bar and tables giving an outdoors-inside feel and adding to the sense of the whole building as an extension of the garden courtyard. Starting with some wine, we looked over the menu as we chatted, negotiating to ensure we didn’t pick the same things. Strange to think now, when every conversation seems to hinge on the current pandemic, but I believe we didn’t even touch on the virus taking off in Asia and speedily gaining news real estate.
The food and drink
In the end, we went with dual tartares for our starters – steak for her and yellowfin tuna for me. The tuna was fantastic quality, with a classic avocado accompaniment and some jalapeno to give it a needed bit of kick and character. The steak, meanwhile, was beautifully prepared with its quail’s egg and additional richness in the form of beef dripping toast. For mains, there was no hesitation in choosing the roast Iberico pork cutlet and 35-day dry-aged rib eye on the bone. The latter was, according to Liv, everything you could ask for from a steak, with toothsome bone marrow alongside adding further big flavour. The Iberico pork came with braised cocoa beans and chorizo, and was certainly tasty, though wasn’t as memorable for me as other dishes we tried.
Accompanying wines were expertly picked by the sommelier, and the whole meal passed all too quickly in pleasurable tasting and talking. Bidding good night to Bluebird, we headed out for another drink, not ready to end the night quite yet after such a good start.
I’m looking forward to returning to the delightful indulgence of those evenings when we can – and to Bluebird.