This weekend I met up with two of my friends from a former workplace, one of whom runs a business letting out flats in southeast London, Hilly Fields, which is where we decided to spend the weekend.
We met up at 7 p.m. for drinks in the amazing garden that Cindy has created for her guests and then we moved on to Le Querce, where Cindy had booked us a table for dinner. We decided to take the bus as the heavens had opened up just as we made it to the high street. It was only a short ride, but we were soaked by the time the bus arrived and we were still wet when we arrived at the restaurant.
We were seated immediately to a table at the back near the kitchen and provided with menus. The restaurant was full to capacity, or so it seemed, and it was a very long time before we were asked if we wanted anything to drink and an even longer wait to be asked what we wanted to eat. None of us could read the specials board, but a lovely lady came and explained them to us rather patiently.
I opted for a ravioli in butter and sage dressing for starters, Cindy ordered the scallops and L ordered the calamari. All were delicious and I can honestly say I have never, in my life, had such a melt in the mouth pasta dish and it was huge for a starter size, too. Cindy shared some marsh samphire with me from her plate and it was scrumptious, and both Cindy and L raved about their starters. Our plates were cleared in good time and then the mains.
One disappointment was that both L and I had ordered the same sides – mixed vegetables and chips – but only one portion of the chips arrived at the table. Liz ordered the Monkfish, Cindy the Sea Bass and I the Veal, all of which were from the specials board. Each was beautifully cooked, fresh and so very light, even with the sides we never felt overfed. The flavours of the dishes were just perfect. Again, dishes were cleared and we were offered the desert menu and I cannot recommend the wheat-free chocolate cake enough: light, airy, and delicious. Cindy tried ice-creams flavoured with fennel, pear and pernot and I’m afraid I can’t remember the last, but if the fennel I tasted is anything to go by, these were superb.
The food alone is enough to draw you to Le Querce, which is probably a good thing because service was a bit underwhelming, if friendly, but I’ve heard they can do better, perhaps it was just a very busy night. I will definitely be going back. [As an aside: there is another restaurant in Blackheath with the same name, but that was not the one we attended].
We walked back to the apartment and Cindy and L were very patient with me as my back started to hurt and I had to stop (I missed my shiatsu appointment last Monday because of illness and won’t be able to get another until September). We arrived back at the apartment and chatted until around 3 a.m. and then we went to bed. I had forgotten how quiet Brockley was at night: no foxes, no owls, no dogs barking, no police cars, and only three cars drove past. Yes, I was up until dawn and then fell asleep.
I awoke at 9.30 to find the other two already up and changing the beds. I jumped in the shower as they dissembled a book case. While they went out to the local cafe for a full English, I stayed home still not well. I did a bit of washing up and some sweeping before they returned with a lovely, warm bacon butty (hey, the only meal I had eaten the day before was at Le Querce) and then we all parted ways, vowing to do it all again in a few months’ time.
I miss contact with the girls, but with us all working different shifts – Cindy runs her business during the day/evening; L works nights and I work evenings – it’s hard to keep up, but this weekend provided a nice, relaxed, slow reunion with old, but very treasured friends. I know she is my friend, but Cindy has done a fabulous job refurbishing the apartments at Hilly Fields: light, airy, stylishly decorated with some stunning accessories, spacious holiday lets with separate, private gardens for the upper and lower apartments. Hilly Fields provides quick access to amenities (i.e. that 172 bus stops right outside St Pauls Cathedral in the City), and Brockley seems to be up-and-coming these days with some spruced-up venues, restaurants and shops. Cindy has taken great care to provide everything for the visitor to London with the inclusion of books, DVDs, games console, and WiFi should the weather take a turn. I was certainly glad we stayed there. Can’t wait for next time.