Friday, March 23

Diana's birthday lunch at Cugini

Midweek blessings saw us celebrating Diana’s birthday at Cugini as it was near Zee’s office and neither the birthday girl nor I had been there before.

Almost as soon as our menus were whisked away, a basket of goodwill carbs aka complimentary sliced bread, along with balsamic vinegar and olive oil made it to our table. Psst, ask for their chili oil which packs some heat. Their bread basket was nothing fancy, just something to tide over your pre-meal hunger. At least it was warm and crusty.

Zee’s unpictured aglio olio spaghetti made quite an entrance with some serious garlic pung. It was pretty good, boosting my confidence in their pastas; I think I would try their Sardinian style pasta with mullet roe on my next visit.

Not particularly hungry, Diana and I shared the Fiorentina, a tomato-based pizza topped with mozzarella, fresh spinach and an off-centre sunny side up.

Sidenote: I have a bit of an obsession with runny egg yolks despite my intolerance towards them. If I ever drew or wrote a children’s book, my protagonist would be a runny egg yolk called Ollie who travels around the world looking for compatriots (you read this here first!)

It was a really really thin pizza, perfect for the carb-conscious. Though I would have preferred cooked spinach and a puffier crust, this was not a bad pie. In fact, the pizza was pretty light and I was hungrier by the time we were done with it. Whoops, guess that means extra desserts.

Cugini’s tiramisu was soft, sizable and bore enough booze for some clandestine midday delight. I would have certainly helped myself to more if not for my current state.

An episode of Masterchef UK had etched the words “warm chocolate cake” in my mind. I couldn’t help but order the next best thing from the menu – chocolate soufflé cake with vanilla ice cream. Endearingly soft, not suffocatingly rich, with an orange scent wafting through it.

This souffle cake runs on the small side which could be a good thing after a carb-heavy lunch or utterly tragic if you believe in a happy heavy ending.

Maybe I'm getting older and more sentimental but I'm quite obsessed with preserving memories so that I can tell my kid what my friends and I did when we were her age.

S, this was taken during aunt D's birthday and I was 6 months pregnant with you.

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