There's nothing to beat a quiet night out

Share
Related Topics

I have just taken my wife "up" to London for a big night out. She is a fabulous mum to our kids and puts up with me arsing around the world pretending to work while she does the real stuff. "Time to spoil her," I thought to myself.

I asked a couple of foodie friends for recommendations as to where I should take her, because I always go to the same places – J Sheekey, Maroush, the Groucho Club. It was time to branch out and go somewhere new that we'd both enjoy Ω push the boat out a little.

My friend Adam suggested Marco Pierre White's Criterion restaurant on Piccadilly Circus. "It's a gorgeous room and it's Marco – you know it's going to be good." I rang, and, after some mutual miscommunication with the very helpful, possibly Albanian, speaker on the other end of the line, I managed to get a reservation for two that evening.

First, though, I had to do a reading at a carol service in Mayfair. It was a lovely affair, über-tasteful and packed with establishment types. I felt very out of place seated next to Sir Terry Wogan and a couple of Downton Abbey sorts. Despite my nerves I survived my reading, and, after a couple of celebratory glasses, hopped into a cab to head off to the Criterion.

When we got there it appeared that we didn't have a reservation. I eventually worked out that "Mr Gally" must be me and persuaded them to let us in. We sat down in the admittedly beautiful room and looked around. The place was packed. We were given a menu, some bread and a bottle of water as we chatted away. Then we waited... and waited.

After 15 minutes of nothing happening, we gave up and I suggested we go somewhere else. Stacey had already had some bread and water and was worried that this would constitute a "dine and dash", as Canadians so quaintly call "doing a runner". I was less worried. I'd tried to organise a special night out and the Criterion was proving to be a huge disappointment. So we walked out (please feel free to send me a bill for bread and water) and headed to a bustling yakitori joint on Old Compton Street, where we had way too much sake and a superb meal.

As we sat, sated on grilled chicken livers and other culinary delights, we talked about other runners or dine and dashes we'd done in our lives. Both Stacey and I had each done one in our student days – hers was in Toronto and mine in Paris. We both admitted to feeling very guilty about our past misdeeds.

As we left the restaurant we spotted the warm, neon glow of Ed's Easy Diner on the other side of the road. This mock American diner is something of a Soho institution and I suggested to Stacey that she might, perchance, fancy something to soothe her insatiable sweet tooth. I didn't have to ask twice and we ended up, slightly tipsy, chowing down on waffles with lashings of vanilla ice and chocolate sauce.

I don't know what the secret to a happy marriage is. I just love the fact that we'd started in a poncey restaurant and ended up happy as Larry in a late-night diner, eating ice cream.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of web an...

Recruitment Genius: Class 1 Driver

£12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader in the events...

Recruitment Genius: Finance and Office Administrator

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An award winning field marketing agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Part Time Telesales / Appointment Maker

£10000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A professional telesales/appoin...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Australian cricketer Phil Hughes has died aged 25  

Phillip Hughes: A sensational man, both on and off the pitch

Angus Fraser
Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party  

If people voted for policies, the Green Party would win the next election

Lee Williams
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?